It has been six weeks since the Sunday Times revealed that a (former) NAMA employee had purchased a house and land in Lucan, west Dublin from a NAMA developer. There was outrage at the perception that the employee, Enda Farrell, might have obtained some advantage by virtue of his position in NAMA. This afternoon, NAMA has issued a statement telling us what it has done.
Most significantly, NAMA has taken High Court action against Enda Farrell – who is not mentioned by name in the NAMA statement incidentally – and Enda Farrell’s wife to recover information which NAMA believes may have been taken without authorisation from NAMA. The legal proceedings so far have been in camera which is why they weren’t picked up on here, but NAMA says that the High Court has ordered that Enda Farrell hand over data held on his computer and other storage devices. NAMA says it is now analysing that data. The matter has been transferred to the Commercial Court division of the High Court, and NAMA is not making any further comment on the proceedings themselves, not even saying what remedies it is seeking.
Of less significance perhaps is the investigation that NAMA commissioned its internal auditors Deloitte to undertake in the wake of the revelations at the start of August – these investigations have now concluded and NAMA claims that the property in Lucan was sold at a price which reflected an independent valuation and that Enda Farrell “had no role in the assessment or approval of the transaction by NAMA”
However NAMA also established that, contrary to NAMA’s requirement of full disclosure by staff in respect of the purchase of NAMA-related property, Enda Farrell did not disclose the transaction “at any time either prior to or following the transaction”. The NAMA board is currently examining the findings in Deloitte’s report and will consider if changes are required to NAMA’s internal procedures.
The full NAMA statement is here.
UPDATE: 12th September, 2012. Analysis:
The press release from NAMA this afternoon is intriguing. On one hand, the investigation into the sale of the property in Lucan to Enda Farrell is a damp squib. NAMA found that Enda didn’t disclose to it the fact he was buying it. However as far as NAMA is concerned Enda paid the market value, so didn’t gain any advantage. And whilst the NAMA board is still considering the results of the Deloitte investigation, it doesn’t look as if there will be any further action involving Enda on this matter.
However the bombshell was the fact that NAMA had uncovered what it claims was the inappropriate taking of information. NAMA went to the High Court and secured an Anton Piller order which allows the applicant to conduct a search without giving prior notice. They are rare enough in Ireland with perhaps one or two a year seemingly. It indicates a serious matter. NAMA doesn’t say what information might have been compromised or what remedy it is seeking at the Commercial Court where the matter will not be heard in open court. There is still no reference to the case on the Courts Service, but that may change tomorrow.
NAMA has also referred the information matter to the Data Protection Commissioner and the Gardai. Again, it seems as if NAMA is being very robust here. It seems the Enda Farrell story is no longer about a property in Lucan but about the confidentiality of NAMA information. That’s a turn-up.
UPDATE: 21st September, 2012. The Irish Times reports that Ernst and Young has carried out an investigation and passed on the results to NAMA. And that Alice Kramer has resigned her position, “during the last few days”, it is understood.