PAC to invite Wallace to meet privately over Nama claims

Committee to write to TD over his allegations around the disposal of 850 NI properties

Independent TD Mick Wallace. Photograph: Courts Collins

Independent TD Mick Wallace. Photograph: Courts Collins

 

The Dáil Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is to issue another invitation to Independent TD Mick Wallace to appear before it in private session.

Mr Wallace refused to appear before the committee last week to discuss allegations he made about a National Asset Management Agency (Nama) sale.

PAC chairman John McGuinness said the committee is to write to him again seeking his co-operation.

Mr Wallace made a number of claims under Dáil privilege last month about the disposal of 850 properties in Northern Ireland by Nama.

During Leaders’ Questions, Mr Wallace expressed concern about its sale of the Northern Ireland loan portfolio Project Eagle. He said the portfolio, with a value of £4.5 billion, was sold to US private equity firm Cerberus for less than £1.5 billion.

Mr Wallace also told the Dáil a routine audit of Belfast-based legal firm Tughans involved in the Project Eagle sale had shown up £7 million in an Isle of Man account, “reportedly earmarked for a Northern Ireland politician or political party”.

Last week, NAMA chairman Frank Daly and chief executive Brendan McDonagh appeared before the PAC. Mr Daly has always argued Nama received a decent price for its portfolio.

Mr McGuinness said the latest invitation to Mr Wallace was not about interrogating Mick Wallace . “The PAC wants to be in a position to assist him in seeking clarity and transparency around those issues.

“The Comptroller and Auditor General was already conducting a review of the sale of Project Eagle before Mr Wallace made the claims.”

Response sought

Ian Coulter

Fine Gael TD John Deasy said the PAC would decide on the best route forward at its meeting on Thursday.

Mr Wallace said yesterday he had been contacted by a number of people raising concerns over the work of Nama. He said he had received a number of new allegations in recent weeks.

“A lot of people feel very hard done by Nama. There is an awful lot of money at stake. There is a lot of portfolios and assets still to be sold and I think it would be negligent of the Government to refuse to act,” he said.

“There is an obligation to act sooner rather than later in the interests of the taxpayer. That is paramount. They must set up an inquiry in an independent fashion”.

He confirmed he would be raising some issues in the Dáil this week about the workings of the organisation but insisted it would be nothing new or explosive.

Powerful people

The TD will push for an independent inquiry when he raises the issue with Taoiseach Enda Kenny today.

Issues around Project Eagle are now being investigated by the PAC, the PSNI, and Stormont’s finance committee.