The recent Comptroller and Auditor General report on NAMA’s management of assets noted that the Agency had started quite a few investigations to pursue assets that might be available to developers to help pay off loans, but which were not declared by those developers when submitting their “Developer Business Plan” to NAMA. Here’s a reminder of the types of assets uncovered by NAMA’s investigators.
So NAMA is now more than two years into its asset management phase, the first loans having been acquired in March 2010. The Agency has three full-time employees whose job it is to uncover assets and who in turn manage a panel of private investigators.
You might therefore have expected a train of prosecutions, because remember the “Developer Business Plans” were supposed to be accompanied by statutory declarations and if developers had told porkies to NAMA about their assets, then NAMA could refer those porkies to the “appropriate authorities”, presumably the Gardai. And of the 850 developers whose loans are being managed by NAMA, how many such prosecutions are in train?
Zero, according to Minister for Finance Michael Noonan who told Sinn Fein’s finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty yesterday that (a) responsibility for prosecutions didn’t rest with NAMA (!) and (b) only “one case is being reviewed to assess whether there may be a basis for onward referral to the appropriate authorities”. The full exchange is here:
“Deputy Pearse Doherty: asked the Minister for Finance following the publication on 24 May 2012 of the special report by the Comptroller and Auditor General which examined the National Assets Management Agency’s management of its assets, if there have been any prosecutions or other legal action in respect of developers who omitted assets from schedules which required a declaration from the developer pursuant to the Statutory Declarations Act 1938 as part of the NAMA business plan review process. [27941/12]
Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan: I am advised by NAMA that there have been no prosecutions to date for submission by debtors of inaccurate Statements of Affairs. As the Deputy will be aware, prosecutions in such cases are a matter, not for NAMA, but for the relevant law enforcement authorities. NAMA advises that one case is being reviewed to assess whether there may be a basis for onward referral to the appropriate authorities.”
Of course it might very well be that NAMA is reviewing “one case”, but somehow I doubt anything will come of it – even if it is a serious “review” as opposed to the impression NAMA would like to give developers: “we’re watching you” – given the absence of any action so far. Of course it might be that there is no untoward declaration by any of the 850 developers whose €74bn of loans NAMA has now acquired….