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PAC report reiterates need for NI NAMA inquiry

Ulster Unionist MLA Robin Swann has said the publication of the Irish Parliament's Public Accounts Committee damning report into the sale of the NAMA Northern Ireland portfolio emphasises the need for an in-depth inquiry to investigate the alleged role of local politicians.

Robin Swann, the previous Chair of the Northern Ireland Assembly’s PAC, said:

“I welcome this publication of this report, coming only 6 months after the Republic’s Comptroller and Auditor General reported. It further demonstrates however just how inadequate the response of the last two Northern Ireland Executives have been.

“Whilst the NCA, PSNI and US law agencies are continuing with their own criminal investigations, the roles of politicians in this saga has still not been properly investigated.

“In November Cerberus, the eventual purchaser of the Northern Ireland portfolio, revealed that it had paid the legal firm Brown Rudnick a £15m success fee for services including access to the NI Executive. Questions that now need urgently answered include whether Cerberus got what they paid for, and if so who did they meet and when did they meet them?

“Before the last Assembly collapsed the Finance Committee had agreed to hold a full inquiry, specifically looking into the political aspects of the whole NAMA scandal in Northern Ireland. This now urgently needs to happen in order to shine some light, especially on the involvement of Peter Robinson and Sammy Wilson and their association with Frank Cushnahan.

“The Republic’s PAC in the report did not accept the NAMA position that Frank Cushnahan had no access to valuable information, and I welcome their firm stance that the failure of NAMA to remove Mr Cushnahan from the NI Advisory Committee was a ‘failure of corporate governance.’

“It should have been obvious to any Northern Ireland Minister that it would be inappropriate to facilitate and participate in a meeting between a potential buyer and someone who would have had NAMA inside information. Following this latest report, a Northern Ireland investigation must now be inevitable.

“There is now an immediate requirement to build public and investor confidence following the revelations to date. It is time for full openness and transparency with all that went awry with the NAMA sale.

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