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Minister must ensure ODCE’s past mistakes are not repeated – Quinlivan

18 April, 2018 - by Maurice Quinlivan TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Maurice Quinlivan TD today said that the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys must ensure that the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement is fully resourced and she must safeguard against previous mistakes being repeated at the state’s white collar crime agency.

Speaking today, the Limerick City TD said;

“This week, the ODCE applied to the High Court for inspectors to be appointed to Independent News and Media to investigate the company.

“Under Section 748(3) of the Companies Act 2014, these inspectors ‘may be or include an officer or officers of the Director’.

“Should the inspectors appointed be from the ODCE, Minister Humphreys must ensure this agency has the resources required to undertake a robust and competent investigation, whilst also ensuring other investigations into white collar crime continue unaffected.

“In the past, I have been critical of the ODCE, specifically for their actions which directly led to the collapse of the trial into the former Chairman of Anglo Irish Bank.

“Judge Aylmer said that investigation carried out by the ODCE fell short of an unbiased, impartial, and balanced investigation that an accused is entitled to. The coaching of witness statements, the late disclosure of documents, a perceived bias by ODCE investigators, and the shredding of documents were all cited as reasons why the trial of the accused could not be considered fair.

“Last year at the request of the Minister, the Director of the ODCE prepared a report into these investigative failures. Despite repeated requests, this report has never been published. Therefore, we are not aware of the full extent of what went wrong.

“The Minister has read this report, and as a result, the responsibility lies with her to ensure such mistakes are not repeated in any future investigations.

“In 2018, the ODCE has just 36 staff, one tenth the number of social welfare inspectors. In addition last year the ODCE spent just €3 million, a tiny amount considering the complexity of some white collar crimes.

“Sinn Féin believes the investigation of corruption and white collar crime in Ireland needs radical reform, but in the short term, Minister Humphreys must ensure that the ODCE is fully resourced and past mistakes are not repeated.” 

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