Yes the Muslims and the Christians are kicking the crap out of each other in the north of the country, and tribes are kidnapping oil workers and blowing up pipelines in the south, the whole country continues to scam the rest of the world with so-called 419 frauds – Nigerian prince or general seeks your bank account details and an administration or advance fee from you so that he can make you fabulously wealthy – and the country remains one of the most corrupt on the planet – it’s ranked 143 out of 182 according to Transparency International with 1 being the least corrupt; and yet, for all of that, Clare man and NAMA Top 10 developer, Bernard McNamara proves yet again that where there’s muck, there’s brass.
On Thursday last, it was reported in “Africa Today” that Bernard is to construct a new university in the northern Nigerian state of Sokoto – there’s a photograph of him at the ceremony to mark the signing of the construction agreement here. This follows reports in the Irish Mail on Sunday in October 2011 – not available online, but this is understood to be an accurate version – that Bernard’s company, McNamara Nigeria Limited had won a €39m contract inNigeria.
It was just over a year ago when NAMA moved to appoint receivers to a range of companies in the McNamara group, principally Michael McNamara and Company which had been founded in 1948 and was understood to be the flagship company in Bernard’s empire. There were reports that he was touting for business in the Middle East. Bernard is the developer who candidly admitted in early 2010 that he was broke, his trophy home at 22 Ailesbury Road in Dublin was recently sold for €10m to pay debts and he might become best known in Ireland for the disastrous speculation on the 25-acre Irish Glass Bottle site in Ringsend in Dublin. But there’s life still in the 61-year old Clareman as this latest deal shows.
UPDATE: 9th January, 2012. According to Emmet Oliver in today’s Irish Independent, Bernard and the missus, Moira have sold a timeshare they had in a Manhattan apartment for an undisclosed sum (or at least it’s not referred to in today’s reporting) to a Channel Island registered company, Ringsend Property Limited. It is not stated if Bernard has any connection with this company but his greatest disaster in the property business, the 25-acre Irish Glass Bottle site is located in Ringsend in Dublin. The Manhattan apartment is at 2 East 55th Street and is said by the Independent to be “believed to be part of the St Regis development”. The Independent claims that NAMA has not moved to enforce personal guarantees against Bernard though it has appointed receivers to his companies.
UPDATE: 7th August, 2012. Laura Noonan in the Irish Independent today reports that Bernard’s company is in fact owned by one of Bernard’s associates, Jack Butler and a local Nigerian named as Uzo Nwakuche. The company has apparently won a contract to build 75 homes on the site of the university of Sokoto and may well be in the running to build “phase 2 and 3” of the university. Laura says the contracts are worth €50m. Bernard ios said to have been a consultant on the project but that role is said to “have long since ceased”