Project Eagle commission to examine actions of Noonan

Government announces terms of reference for commission looking at Nama sale

Michael Noonan: the commission will examine  whether actions and decisions taken by the Minister  were appropriate

Michael Noonan: the commission will examine whether actions and decisions taken by the Minister were appropriate

 

The Commission of Investigation into Nama’s controversial sale of the huge Project Eagle portfolio will include an examination of whether actions and decisions taken by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan were appropriate.

The Government on Tuesday announced the terms of reference for the commission, which is expected to report in June 2018. A chairman has yet to be appointed.

The Project Eagle portfolio comprised of over 800 properties associated with Northern Irish developers. An earlier report by the Comptroller and Auditor General queried if the optimum price was achieved. It also emerged that a member of Nama’s Northern advisory board, Frank Cushnahan, was at one stage in line to get a success fee of £5 million for the disposal.

The terms seek to find out if the price and disposal method were appropriate, and if any conflicts of interest arose, and, if so, were they managed appropriately.

A specific term makes reference to Mr Noonan. It states if decisions and actions taken by him, “including communications with members and officials of the Northern Ireland Executive and meetings with potential bidders, were appropriate in the circumstances”.

The commission has also been given powers to investigate anything arising outside the State in so far as it is practicable. One difficulty facing the commission is that the transaction was cross-jurisdictional. Powers to compel witnesses and for the discovery of documents will not apply in the North.