PAC Project Eagle report shows need for Commission of Investigation - David Cullinane TD
Responding to the Report into the sale of NAMA's Northern Loan Book code named Project Eagle, Sinn Fein PAC member David Cullinane TD said the sale process was flawed, compromised and probably resulted in a substantial loss for the taxpayer.
Teachta Cullinane said the report highlights the need for a Commission of Investigation.
Speaking today Deputy Cullinane said:
"The decision by NAMA to sell its entire Northern loan book in a single lot was a deviation from its standard sales process.
"In my opinion the evidence unearthed by the PAC examination found the sale of Project Eagle to be a flawed and compromised process. The failure of NAMA to act on the involvement of a member of the Northern Ireland Advisory committee of NAMA Mr. Frank Cushnahan with Northern debtors was a failure of corporate governance on behalf of NAMA.
"It was the view of Brown Rudnick that Mr. Cushnahan was to share in a success fee of £15m.
"I find this deeply disturbing as Mr. Cushnahan was a member of the Northern Ireland Advisory Committee of NAMA at the time.
"It is equally disturbing that meetings took place involving Mr. Cushnahan, representatives of PIMCO and senior DUP Ministers while Mr. Cushnahan was still a member of the NIAC.
“The Report finds that a meeting that took place between Minister Noonan and Cerberus a mere 24 hours before the close of bids was procedurally inappropriate.
“It is disappointing that the Fine Gael members of the PAC decided to cover for Michael Noonan instead of engaging with the evidence presented to the Committee.
“The PAC Report quite rightly states that the C&AG’s report was evidence-based, balanced and reasonable.
“NAMA said that the C&AG Office had criticised a commercial decision undertaken by the agency. It was only after two months of hearings that NAMA finally conceded that the Comptroller and Auditor General did not make any such statement.
“NAMA accepted that it suffered a loss of £640 million on its northern-based borrower portfolio.
“The Comptroller and Auditor General pointed out in his Report that £190m of this £640m could be attributed to a probable loss due to a change in sales strategy.
“The C&AG had supporting evidence for its report. NAMA offered no contemporaneous evidence to back up its attack on the office of the C&AG.
“I agree with the PAC Report that the Project Eagle sales strategy could be described as seriously deficient and that NAMA was unable to demonstrate that it got value for money for the Irish State.
“The failure of checks and balances regarding the sale of Project Eagle does not instil confidence in the sale of other NAMA property portfolios.”
“Overall, the PAC Report into the sale of Project Eagle shows that we need to have a Commission of Investigation into NAMA.
“It is Sinn Féin’s view this should proceed as soon as possible.”