“I am informed by NAMA that it does not, in all cases, have information on the identity of employers who recruited staff following their resignation from the Agency as some former staff have taken up employment overseas. However, in cases where NAMA has such information, NAMA is satisfied that no sales transactions have taken place between the entities involved and NAMA, its debtors or receivers appointed by it.” Minister for Finance Michael Noonan on 18th September 2012 in response to parliamentary question from Sinn Fein finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty
“A filing with the land registry in the UK shows that Longbow registered a charge over the hotel in August this year.” Donal Donovan writing in the Irish Independent 8th October 2012
On 13th January 2012, it was reported that NAMA’s Head of Lending, Graham Emmett (see LinkedIn screen grab above from February 2012 – its authenticity was not established at the time, but I am not aware of its authenticity being rejected by Graham Emmett) was quitting the agency. On 30th September, 2012, the Sunday Independent reported that Graham Emmett had left NAMA because of “state interference” but the only allusion to such interference is in the meat of the article where it is reported that Graham Emmett said “It’s not just that. It’s the minimum salary and the requests for [pay] reductions and the long-term incentive plan, the whole gamut. It’s not just to do with bonuses” Today it is reported by the Independent that “over the summer” the company which now employs Graham Emmett as a partner, ICG Longbow, bought a loan from NAMA.
“Oh aye…” I can hear you thinking but it should be clearly stated that the Independent today reports “Sources at NAMA say its deal to sell the loan was finalised over the summer, before Mr Graham became active at ICG Longbow” and “Sources at Longbow say there is no question of any involvement of Mr Emmett in the NAMA deal.”
But here we have a senior NAMA executive who no doubt had access to the treasure trove of detail on NAMA loans who quits in January 2012 seemingly because of dissatisfaction with his remuneration, tends to his garden for several months if the LinkedIn entry above is authentic and then, on a date that is not entirely clear, joins a new company in a senior role. And the company in which he is now a partner buys a NAMA loan, reportedly a loan connected to Barry Harte’s Ramada Docklands Hotel. What a specific purchase, no doubt NAMA can show a competitive tendering or bidding process before finalising the sale….
To repeat the important notice in the Independent today, there is no suggestion of wrong-doing on anyone’s part in this transaction. The report merely draws attention to the fact that departing NAMA employees will work for companies which do business with NAMA. NAMA will tell you – as Minister Noonan told Deputy Doherty – that NAMA employees are covered by the Official Secrets Act and face draconian penalties should they fall foul of their duties. Mind you, Minister Noonan didn’t reveal this transaction in his responses to Deputy Doherty on 18th September,2012, and although there might be Jesuitical quibbles over precisely when Graham Emmett joined ICG Longbow as a partner or that NAMA didn’t know about his new employer, you might have thought that in the interests of completeness on what is a very thorny subject, the Minister might at least have alluded to such a transaction.