[UPDATE: 29th October, 2012. The transcript of the Committee hearing is now available here]
This afternoon, the NAMA CEO and chairman – Brendan McDonagh and Frank Daly respectively – made their way up the road from the NAMA HQ to attend an Oireachtas finance and public sector reform committee hearing. NAMA’s Head of Asset Management and NAMA board member, John Mulcahy turned up eventually despite the word on the street that he is up to his ears in dealing with what he describes as “shit” in the Agency. The opening statement by the NAMA CEO is here and the NAMA chairman is here.
Of course the Enda Farrell scandal was to the fore and NAMA came prepared to close down any examination with the old reliable that the matter was before the courts and was subject to a Garda investigation. It emerged that NAMA initially found out via the Deloitte investigation on 12th August that there was an alleged leak of information. NAMA says that “two or three debtors” have contacted the Agency to find out what data may have been leaked relevant to them – it is understood that David Daly, an ex-NAMA debtor who had his loans refinanced and Sean Dunne were two such debtors. NAMA says that there is one further investigation in train; this is likely refer to the matter reported by Ronald Quinlan in the Sunday Independent last week. What was new was that NAMA didn’t take the opportunity offered to it to say if there had been any staff suspension.
NAMA maintains that the alleged leak of information has not been prejudicial to its debtors and expresses confidence that the information has not been disseminated beyond the identified email recipients. Although NAMA previously stated that one of the reasons it protects the confidentiality of its sales, is that if prices were published, it would damage NAMA commercially – now NAMA says that the alleged leaks will not affect its commercial prospects! NAMA is also requiring buyers to assure the Agency that it is not connected with a NAMA employee. NAMA will not blacklist investors or suppliers of services after the Enda Farrell affair.
NAMA says that since October 11th, it is ensuring nearly all property sold by NAMA and its debtors is offered on the open market. This follows extensive criticism of NAMA’s sale of property off-market. NAMA revealed that 200 approximately properties out of the 3,500 disposed of by NAMA debtors have been sold off-market.
NAMA accepts that where it sells loans, it loses control over the debtor who may go on to see immediate debt forgiveness from the buyer of the debt. NAMA has sold €1.9bn of loans to date. NAMA says that the ICG Longbow transaction was initiated by the other lender on the scheme.
NAMA expects over 1,000 properties to be actually transferred for social housing by the end of 2013.
The hearing is ongoing. The transcript and any other nuggets from the hearing will be posted as an update later.