Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement must be given real teeth – Maurice Quinlivan TD
Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Business, Enterprise and Innovation Maurice Quinlivan TD, today gave a cautious welcome to the announcement that the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement is to be overhauled, however he said the reformed body should have substantially more resources and powers if it is to be effective in successfully investigating and prosecuting white collar criminals.
Speaking today, Deputy Quinlivan said;
“The current investigation and prosecution of white collar crimes in this state is farcical. The collapse of Sean Fitzpatrick’s trial back in May epitomised this.
"This criminal case against the former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank collapsed due to a severely flawed investigation by the ODCE including the coaching of witness statements; the late disclosure of documents; a perceived bias by ODCE investigators; and the shredding of documents.
“This was the longest running criminal case in Irish history, and to see it collapse due to sheer incompetence on behalf of the state, reassured the public’s belief that the law does not apply to everyone in this state equally.
“The government commissioned report into this flawed investigation by the ODCE has been with the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation since June 23rd, yet despite my repeated requests for its findings to be released, the report remains unpublished by the Tánaiste.
“Ireland simply does not do white collar crime prosecutions. The tracker mortgage scandal is more evidence of this, so too is the collapse of another case against former Anglo Irish Bank Chief Operating Officer Tiernan O'Mahoney just yesterday.
“The Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement has 35 staff in 2017 – 35 staff to investigate and bring prosecutions against all breaches of company law in Ireland, it’s disgraceful.
"It shows Fine Gael’s soft handed approach to white collar crime and the lack of priority they place on it.
“I give a cautious welcome to this move to completely overhaul the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, as it has clearly shown it is not fit for purpose.
"The public has lost confidence in the organisation to effectively police company law compliance in Ireland. Therefore real and substantial reform of this body is needed.
“Like An Taoiseach I, and a majority of our citizens, am frustrated at the inability of this State to secure more convictions when it comes to corruption and white-collar crime therefore the reformed agency must be given real powers and substantial staffing and resourcing to ensure white collar crime is investigated as thoroughly as other criminal behaviour.
"A rebranding of this organisation will not do. A re-jig of old ways will not be acceptable. A total overhaul and new powers are needed to ensure white collar criminals are held accountable.”