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Government needs to shed light on NAMA advisory board appointees – Doherty

7 March, 2012 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Responding to the announcement of three new appointees to the NAMA advisory board, Sinn Féin finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty said the Government needed to clarify why Chairman of NAMA Frank Daly had been given a role on the board.

Deputy Doherty said this was sailing close to giving the chairman executive powers and took away any independent scrutiny the board might have had.

The deputy also queried whether the name that had been in the arena for appointment to the Board, Gerry Murphy from Blackstone, had been dropped because Sinn Féin had raised potential conflicts of interest.

Deputy Doherty said:

“It was announced today that Minister Noonan has made three appointments to the NAMA advisory committee he has set up. The special advisory committee which is meant to give the Minister advice on NAMA strategy, appointment of directors, remuneration and further areas, was mooted by Michael Noonan in December, when he appointed Michael Geoghegan as its chairman. We discover today that the current NAMA chairman Frank Daly has been appointed to the advisory board, along with businessman Denis Rooney and John Mulcahy, currently head of portfolio management at NAMA.

“I have a number of concerns about this advisory body. I am unclear as to how NAMA now operates - does the advisory body direct NAMA, or does it act as a conduit for the Minister on NAMA operations? Why does the Minister need the chairman of NAMA on the advisory body - does he not have interaction with the chairman regularly already? And does the appointment of a chairperson to an advisory board not put that person into a role with executive powers?

“Of further interest to me is why the name that was speculated for appointment to this board has been dropped. Gerry Murphy of Blackstone met with the Minister and Taoiseach on November 8 and it was widely believed that he was being appointed to this advisory board. Through a series of parliamentary questions from myself and Gerry Adams, we established what we believe to be a conflict of interest between IBRC, NAMA and Blackstone. Blackstone, a leading investment firm, known for its vulture capitalism has recently been retained by the IBRC for advisory purposes on selling its loans. At the same time, Blackstone is tendering for these same loans. The IBRC itself was aware of a potential conflict of interest and retained the services of another American advisory body, FTI Consulting to advise whether Blackstone could simultaneously advise a company how to sell loans and buy from a company in a transparent manner. FTI believed it could, though we subsequently discovered links between FTI and Blackstone. Our revelations on these matters may well have contributed to the fact that Gerry Murphy could not be appointed to the NAMA advisory board and I would like the Minister to confirm whether this is true.

“NAMA is a huge, expensive entity that is not receiving as much scrutiny as it should. Sinn Féin is asking the right questions about its operations, but the Minister needs to be more forthcoming on what this body is doing and what he is doing in relation to it.”

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