McNamara claims receivers for Nama recruited directors after wind-down

Developer defends company and says agency poached staff when construction firm failed

Bernard McNamara: Almost all of them (directors) have since been recruited to senior positions by Nama receivers. Photograph: Collins

Bernard McNamara: Almost all of them (directors) have since been recruited to senior positions by Nama receivers. Photograph: Collins

 

Developer Bernard McNamara has claimed receivers for the National Asset Management Agency hired directors from his company after it was wound down.

Mr McNamara, who went bankrupt in 2007, has submitted a brief written statement to the Oireachtas banking inquiry.

However, he declined to answer a number of questions posed to him by the joint committee alleging the work of private companies is not included in the inquiry’s terms of reference.

Mr McNamara did defend his company and claimed the receivers poached most of his staff when McNamara Construction collapsed.

He said: “Directors were mainly qualified and experienced accountants, engineers and chartered surveyors.

“As I understand it, almost all of them have since been recruited to senior positions by Nama receivers, banks, venture capital funds and top construction companies.”

Mr McNamara also told the committee he was aware of his staff accepting corporate hospitality.

However, the former Fianna Fáil councillor insisted he never availed of any such offers other than a rare golf outing.

Meanwhile, the banking inquiry published several statements on Thursday including a number of clarifications sought from previous witnesses.

Nama rebuked allegations made by developer Johnny Ronan to the committee.

Mr Ronan had alleged the agency made a decision to take down his business without any regard of the cost to the taxpayer.

In a statement published by the committee, the agency said it treated Mr Ronan “objectively, commercially and professionally”.

It said it has a difficult job to do to recoup the best result for the taxpayer and it does not expect to be popular with debtors.

However the agency said there was no attempt to take Treasury Holdings down.

It made the decision because the group was clearly insolvent and past the point of commercial rescue.

Unfair assessment

Martin Whelan, head of relationship management, said the appointment of receivers was based on the best financial return for the State.

Nama also contradicted evidence given by developer Michael O’Flynn and said Mr O’Flynn had painted a very negative and unfair assessment of the agency’s work.

The agency said the developer had claimed Nama was to blame for the shortage of housing in the country.

However, it insisted it was currently the biggest provider of residential development in Dublin.

The International Monetary Fund also submitted a written reply to the committee and confirmed it did not block any attempt to burn senior bondholders.

Craig Beaumont, chief for Ireland’s programme, said that was a decision for the managing director to make.

However, he confirmed “the possibility for burden sharing with senior bondholders was not excluded”.

A number of bank officials and former public servants were asked to clarify some of their evidence before the committee.

Allied Irish Bank officials insisted they were unaware a blanket bank guarantee was to be introduced when they left Government Buildings in September 2008.

Former chief executive Dermot Gleeson insisted the only option discussed while he was present was a guarantee confined to the pillar banks.

He said: “I am absolutely certain that we were not informed of the blanket guarantee before we left Government Buildings.”

Former AIB chief executive Eugene Sheehy also claimed the bank was of the belief the four institutions would be guaranteed and Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide would be nationalised.

This is a source of contradiction between Bank of Ireland and AIB as BofI officials have insisted they were aware leaving Government Buildings of a blanket bank guarantee.

BofI chief executive Brian Goggin was also asked to clarify his evidence but insisted he was aware of the Government decision on the night.

Both banks have denied they presented former taoiseach Brian Cowen and his officials with a draft guarantee on September 29 2008.

This is contradicted by Mr Cowen and former secretary general at the Department of Finance Kevin Cardiff.