Laois TD Sean Fleming to chair probe into NAMA Project Eagle that led to £162m loss

Laois TD Sean Fleming to chair probe into NAMA Project Eagle that led to £162m loss
By Conor Ganly

Laois TD Sean Fleming is set to play a key role in the investigation of NAMA's ivolvment in the so-called Project Eagle sale of properties in Northern Ireland which a pubic spending watcdog has found led to the loss of £162million.

The Fianna Fáil TD is chairman of the high-powered Dáil Public Accounts Committee.

It will host a series of meetings beginning on 29th September to examine the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report on the National Asset Management Agency’s sale of Project Eagle. The report, which was published this week by the Minister for Finance, found that there were shortcomings in the sale process.

The report found the agency incurred a loss of £162 million to the state.

Dep Fleming, said the sale of NAMA’s Northern loanbook or 'Project Eagle' has been a source of considerable controversy. He said it is important that the C&AG report is now in the public domain.

“Its findings show that there was a significant deviation from NAMA's normal marketing and sales process in relation to the Northern loanbook.

“In this case, NAMA appear to have imposed considerable restrictions of time and access to complete property documentation that combined to reduce the number of interested buyers and buyer competition. The end result means that from this sale there was a huge loss to the taxpayer that the C&AG puts in the region of £162 million sterling. NAMA may dispute this but if so, they should provide more convincing evidence to the Committee.

"In addition, the report point to conflicts of interest in relation to members of NAMA's Northern Ireland Advisory Committee. I think that NAMA have serious questions to answer on how they managed these when they came to light.

"The Public Accounts Committee is looking forward to examining the report in greater detail and will begin with a meeting with NAMA representatives on 29th September and the Minister of Finance, Michael Noonan on 6th October in relation to it.

“These meetings will provide Committee Members with an opportunity to discuss all the findings of the report. Following our hearings, the Committee intends to publish its own report with recommendations.”