MINISTER FOR Finance Michael Noonan was told by his department’s officials last year that a €3.6 billion accounting error had only “recently” come to light despite a paper trail stretching back more than 12 months.
In a briefing note for the Minister, prepared on October 28th last, he was told the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) “have recently drawn to our attention” a double-count of money borrowed by the Housing Finance Agency.
However, internal documents show there were at least 20 emails between the National Treasury Management Agency and the Department of Finance’s general government section relating to the matter between August 23rd, 2010, and October 25th, 2011.
The issue centred on the fact that exchequer money being loaned by the NTMA to the Housing Finance Agency was being counted twice as debt and overstated the national debt.
The issue became public knowledge on November 1st last year, after the department issued a statement following inquiries by TV3 News.
You’ll recall how, at the time, former Department of Finance Secretary General Kevin Cardiff ‘was puzzled too.’
This month Kev takes up his €276,000 per year gig at the European Court Of Auditors.
Nice work fella.