Sinn Féin Call On Govt To Establish NAMA Commission Of Investigation

Sinn Féin has called on the government to establish a "Commission of Investigation into the sale of NAMA's loan books, including its northern loan book".

Making the call, party leader Gerry Adams said: "The revelation that an illegal £15 million in fixers' fees was to be paid to individuals involved in the sale of the Northern loan book was brought to NAMA's attention by PIMCO, a potential US bidder.

"NAMA previously claimed that their Northern Advisory Committee was not privy to confidential or useful information regarding this sale. It has since been disclosed that the committee did discuss potential purchasers on at least two occasions before the loan book was sold at a huge loss to Irish taxpayers.

"Belfast accountant David Watters has claimed that he devised the concept to sell all of Nama's northern loans in a single portfolio in a letter he drafted to Tughans which has been disclosed and reported publicly. Mr Watters called his proposal 'Project Amani', which as we now know became NAMAs 'Project Eagle'. Mr Watters brought in Frank Cushnahan, who was then a member of NAMA's Northern Advisory Committee, to work on the concept with him.  

"We also now know, through correspondence released by PIMCO to the North's Assembly Inquiry, that Mr Cushnahan was present at a meeting with them as a potential bidder on 22nd May 2013. This meeting also involved First Minister Peter Robinson and Sammy Wilson, Ian Coulter and Tuvi Keinan from Brown Rudnick. 

"Mr Cushnahan was, at this time, still an active member of the NAMA Advisory Committee and did not resign until November 2013. NAMA have since confirmed that Mr Cushnahan did not declare any conflict of interest.

"NAMA's Chairman Frank Daly says he briefed Minister Noonan in full on the scandal of a £15 million 'fixer fee'. Despite this, Minister Noonan failed to suspend the Project Eagle sale process or to inform the North's Office of First and Deputy First Minister. It is of crucial importance that the role and responsibility of the Irish Government in relation to this entire issue be transparent."

Concluding, Gerry Adams said: "The shenanigans around the northern loan book are now under both criminal and parliamentary investigation by the Assembly in the north; by the British National Crime Agency; the US Department of Justice; the FBI; the US Securities Exchange Commission; and the Law Society in the north of Ireland.

"However, the Irish Government is blindly defending NAMA through all of this and denying that there is any scandal or that there is any need for a Commission on Investigation. This position is untenable.

"NAMA is an arm of the state; it should be accountable. The government should now, as a matter of urgency, establish a Commission of Investigation."


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