Who Took The Bribe-In-A-Bag?

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Yesterday, Independent TD Mick Wallace told the Dáil that he knew of a NAMA portfolio manager who sought a bribe of two installments of €15,000 cash “in a bag” from one of its debtors – to allow the debtor exit NAMA.

This morning, Mr Wallace spoke with Gavin Jennings, on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

During the interview, Mr Jennings read a letter that Brendan McDonagh, the CEO of NAMA, had written to the Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan, in light of Mr Wallace’s claims.

The letter said:

“It’s my understanding that, under Section 19 of the Criminal Justice Act 2011, any party with evidence of criminal wrongdoing is legally obliged to bring such evidence to the attention of An Garda Siochana. In the event that the deputy [Wallace] is aware of such evidence and has not brought it to the attention of An Garda Siochana, it’s my understanding that this is a breach of Section 19.”

Mr Wallace told Mr Jennings that he found it “interesting that NAMA would like to shoot the messenger”. He also said he would be willing to speak to the gardaí – and name names.

Meanwhile…

Here is what Mr Wallace said in the Dáil yesterday…

Mick Wallace: “Yesterday, the Taoiseach said the Comptroller and Auditor General and the Committee of Public Accounts are the agencies in this jurisdiction for dealing with issues concerning the National Asset Management Agency, NAMA. We both know neither of them have the potential to fully hold NAMA to account. The legislation regarding the Comptroller and Auditor General does not allow for ongoing, intrusive oversight and monitoring and lacks asset management oversight functions. There are many concerns around the workings of NAMA.”

“Cerberus expects to make a large fortune from the purchase of Project Eagle. The £7 million that ended up in an Isle of Man bank account will begin to look like small change. The big loser, though, is the Irish taxpayer in the South. NAMA says the sale of Project Eagle was lawful, but was the purchase lawful? I would have thought that a Fine Gael Government would have a bit more concern about slush moneys for fixers. I doubt the Taoiseach has heard the last of Project Eagle.”

Does the Taoiseach know how many barristers, judges, solicitors, top-four accountancy firm partners and bankers are in syndicates which have been set up by Goodbody Stockbrokers, Anglo Private, Bank of Ireland Private, AIB Private, Davy, Warren and Quinlan which have transferred to NAMA but which NAMA has not enforced, despite personal guarantees being attached? NAMA is responsible for some people being tossed out of their homes, but it looks like some of the great and good of Irish society are blessed with NAMA’s goodwill.”

What role did a former Secretary General of the Department of Finance, John Moran, play in NAMA’s handling of the Coroin group’s portfolio? This gentleman remarked at one stage that the number of home repossessions in Ireland was unnaturally low. It would appear he was unnaturally interested in playing a significant role in the outcome of the Coroin group’s portfolio.”

All is not well. I know of a construction company, Taoiseach, which wanted to exit out of NAMA, so it asked the manager of its portfolio if it could happen and he said, “Yes, but it will cost you €15,000 in cash and I want it in a bag”.”

An Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett: “Sorry, Deputy. If you have these sorts of charges, can I suggest you give them to An Garda Síochána because they cannot be substantiated here?”

Eric J. Byrne: “The Deputy should go before the Committee of Public Accounts with this information. He is grandstanding here.”

Wallace:A few weeks later, they delivered the money. A few weeks later he demanded the same again. They duly obliged and all was sorted – a small window into the workings of NAMA. Is the Taoiseach still happy with the workings of this secret society?”

Enda Kenny: “The Deputy has made a number of comments and allegations here regarding people working in different sectors, including members of the Judiciary. He made comments in respect of a former Secretary General of the Department of Finance, as well as comments generally in respect of NAMA.”

“Let me repeat again for him. The process of accountability and transparency in this jurisdiction in respect of NAMA is the Committee of Public Accounts in the Oireachtas, chaired by a Member of this House. Personnel from the Comptroller and Auditor General’s office work with NAMA and have access to all the papers and documents relevant to any of these transactions.”

“I would suggest that, as a public representative, the Deputy has a facility where questions can follow his allegations. He should go to Deputy [John] McGuinness’s committee, the Committee of Public Accounts, a committee of long-standing integrity in this House. The Deputy can make his claims, ask his questions. The Chairman of the committee, with his members, is entitled to call in personnel in respect of the issues the Deputy raised.”

“The Deputy has made some serious claims here. I do not have the detailed responses to them. The Committee of Public Accounts is the authorised independent entity in the Oireachtas for accountability and transparency in respect of NAMA. I suggest to Deputy Wallace that in the interest of public accountability and transparency, he goes to the committee, presents his findings and facts – if facts they are – and allow the Chairman and his committee to do their work in the interests of their political responsibility here.”

Wallace: “I can only come to the conclusion that the Taoiseach does not seem awfully interested in getting to the truth. There is a stark contrast between how Northern Ireland is dealing with this and how the Government is dealing with it.”

Creed: “The committee is in the North.”

Wallace: “Can the Taoiseach tell me why did Mr. Frank Daly tell the Committee of Public Accounts that he did not know about the alleged £7 million in the Isle of Man bank account until I mentioned it? I know for a fact that NAMA—–”

Barrett: “I am sorry, but this is Leaders’ Questions.”

Wallace: “—–knew this last January. What did it do about it? Did it tell the Minister for Finance or did it bury it with the rest of it? Mr. Coulter has denied the involvement of a politician. Well, he would, would he not? I decided to contact my sources this morning and ask them to what degree of certainty they could stand over the involvement of a particular politician. Their reply was, “Is 100% enough?”. The Taoiseach has serious problems. Does he want answers to them? Do not bother asking me, Taoiseach, to go to the Garda—–”

Barrett: “Sorry, but this is no way to be dealing with such a serious issue. The Deputy cannot use the Chamber as a Star Chamber where no evidence is presented. The Deputy is affecting people’s reputations here. He has not presented any solid facts.”

Transcript via Oireachtas.ie

Listen to Mr Wallace’s interview on Morning Ireland here

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35 thoughts on “Who Took The Bribe-In-A-Bag?

  1. 15 cents

    what an utterly stupid response by Brendan McDonagh, more or less admitting wrong doing, but saying it should be wallace in trouble for not going to the police. yea, cool defense, B. cool defense. Whats really stupid of him is doing anything at all.. the elites in this country dont get punished for anything, so if he just stays quiet he’ll walk away from this like all the rest of them. although with how this country is, he could probably shout from the rooftops that yes indeed bribes were requested and received, and still not face any real punishment.

    1. Miko

      What would you have him do? Every time Wallace alleges something via megaphone he goes down to the Gardai station and reports what exactly? I heard through a 4th party allegedly allegedly something with no names or date that a crime may have been committed. This is puerile mud flinging from the tax evading and pension stealing Wallace.

      1. Skeptical O'Hare

        “Pension stealing”? He didn’t steal any pensions. He didn’t steal any pensioners either. But what the hey, “puerile mud flinging” is so hot right now.

  2. ahyeah

    Without these independents, we wouldn’t have a clue what’s going on in this country. And the usual crew of liars and thieves that have been at it for decades would have free reign to continue as was. And I bet we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg. Wallace, Murphy, Donnelly etc have made a profound contribution since getting elected.

    1. Rob_G

      “Without these independents, we wouldn’t have a clue what’s going on in this country. And the usual crew of liars and thieves that have been at it for decades would have free reign to continue as was.”

      – like wealthy property developers embezzling money from the workers’ pension contributions, that type of thing?

        1. classter

          Not far off it.

          He swindled the state of 1.4m in tax, despite receiving the contributions.

          Somehow the winery he bought is still in the ownership of his family.

    2. classter

      I agree generally but Wallace has to do better than this one.

      Unverified & unsubstantiated.

      What has (generally) given the independents credibility of late, is that most of the allegations they have been made have been verified & shown to be so.

  3. Soupynorman

    Can somebody please take Sean Barrett out the back of the Dail and give him a few flakes of a wavin pipe.

  4. ABM's Bloodied Underwear

    For those wondering…..

    The Star Chamber (Latin: Camera stellata) was an English court of law who sat at the royal Palace of Westminster, from the late 15th century to the mid-17th century (ca. 1641), and was composed of Privy Councillors and common-law judges, to supplement the judicial activities of the common-law and equity courts in civil and criminal matters. The Star Chamber was established to ensure the fair enforcement of laws against socially and politically prominent people so powerful that ordinary courts would likely hesitate to convict them of their crimes.

    Court sessions were held in public, although witnesses and defendants were examined in secret.[1] Defendants were given prior notice of the charges against them, and had the right to be represented by an attorney.[2] Evidence was presented in writing. Over time, the Star Chamber evolved into a political weapon, a symbol of the misuse and abuse of power by the English monarchy and its courts.

    In modern usage, legal or administrative bodies with strict, arbitrary rulings and secretive proceedings are sometimes called, metaphorically or poetically, star chambers. This is a pejorative term and intended to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the proceedings. ‘Star Chamber’ can also be used in its original meaning, for instance when a politician uses parliamentary privilege to attack a powerful organisation or person.[3] The inherent lack of objectivity of politically-motivated charges has led to substantial reforms in English law in most jurisdictions since the 17th century.

  5. Mr. T.

    Anyone who has an issue with Wallace’s accusations in the Dail are most likely involved in white collar crime themselves, benefit from it directly or indirectly or have close relations and friends who are engaged in bribery and corruption.

    1. pedeyw

      That’s a very big assumption. I have an issue with his accusations because I honestly he should have brought his evidence to the Gardai first. What are the Dail going to do about it?

      1. JC

        What the hell do the gardai do with it ? theyve done nothing so far, and even if they do the courts seem to do nothing. Ireland is a laughing stock for justice.

        1. Draxx Ltd II

          The Gards will do F-all and the dogs on the street know that. If he brings it to the Dail it gets public attention and it then increases pressure on the powers that be to do something.

          1. pedeyw

            I just figure Gards first, with all evidence he has, wait a few weeks for lack of action on their part, then dail. It just feels a bit like showboating, “Look how good I am” from a man who is hardly financially spotless himself.

    2. Toncla

      Bullshit. Wallace should have gone to the guards with his allegations. If they are true his announcing them publicly puts an investigation in jeopardy. Wallace is only interested in publicity for himself .

  6. martco

    straight question: are the Guards technically allowed to compel/arrest a Taoiseach for questioning?

    1. Mr. T.

      Of course they are. You need to get off your knees there and realise all citizens are subject to the law.

  7. Kieran NYC

    I have to constantly remind myself that Fianna Fáil actually exist and are supposed to be the main party of Opposition. What a joke.

    1. Mr. T.

      “supposed to be the main party of Opposition”

      Oh is that their predetermined role? Sinn Fein are doing that job for them.

  8. _d_a_n_

    Wallace is using whatever information that is being fed to him for political capital, and judging by the comments it’s working. If there has been wrongdoing, and it certainly seems as though there has, and Wallace really wanted to effect change, he would keep his findings to himself, consult a solicitor, bring on a journalist and build a comprehensive and evidence based document. He would then simultaneously bring this document to the authorities and on advice from the solicitor, release whatever information would not prejudice the case into the public domain.

    I respect the tenacity of these independents. Unfortunately, most of them seem like opportunistic idiots who are relishing the praise on one side, and proceeding politically in an error littered, self righteous fashion on the other.

    Nine minutes of berating Kenny in the Dáil for absolutely nothing, apart from making himself look like some arbiter of morality and warning anyone involved that he has and is being fed information. If there is wrongdoing, anyone involved is closing ranks, deleting emails and shredding documents. Fair play, you absolute muppet.

    1. Skeptical O'Hare

      The fact that there are four separate investigations taking place as a result of what Wallace had said, You could argue that he has already effected change.
      Also he didn’t spend nine minutes berating Kenny for absolutley nothing. He didn’t speak for nine minutes and the main trust of what he he was asking for was an immediate independent investigation. NAMA continues to offload billions of euros worth of valuable assets at closing down sale prices and will do so over the next couple of years. So waiting around, building up the comprehensive dossier and then handing over that information to an authority that doesn’t have the expertise to investigate financial fraud, so they can all piss around in legal circles for years doesn’t seem like best tactic when the fire sales continue to take place in real time. Unless you think a retrospective tribunal is a good idea. Muppet.

      1. _d_a_n_

        Already effected change? Nothing has changed and the pending Garda Fraud investigations are only prejudiced by this idiots waffle.

        I’m not saying ‘wait around’, I’m saying exactly the opposite.

        Brendan McDonagh had to write to the Garda Commissioner to request an investigation into these claims the other day, so now the CEO of Nama can say that Nama itself instigated the investigation! Wallace just wants to be able to say he called for an independent inquiry, what did he think would happen? Kenny would instantly agree and set one up that afternoon (there is already the PAC), and how long do you think and independent inquiry would take? With it’s findings then having to go through the judicial system. If he has evidence of criminal activity he should gather it in a cogent and clear way and bring it straight to the courts, instead of playing politics with it in a commission of inquiry to look good in the papers.

        What are you even saying? Handing to the Garda Fraud Unit doesn’t make sense because they can’t investigate fraud and it will take ages in the courts and then we’ll have a tribunal? Explain how setting up an independent inquiry, arguing over it’s members, paying them a fortune and waiting for their findings a better alternative? This isn’t like siteserv, he says he has evidence and a contact stating that a bribe was taken by a Nama official, he also says a politician was involved. That’s clear criminal wrongdoing. I hope whatever evidence Wallace has is strong enough to bring a prosecution, because after this I’m not sure whatever information he was being fed will be as forthcoming, I also hope his grandstanding hasn’t ruined the case.

        1. Skeptical O'Hare

          Before Wallace mentioned NAMA – zero investigations into NAMA. After Wallace Mentions NAMA – four investigations into NAMA. Regardless of the quality of these investigations, it’s fair to say something has changed, not least the way the general public is beginning to view NAMA.
          With regards to prejudicing a Garda investigation – The Garda Fraud squad is something akin two men, a dog and a pencil sharpener. That’s not the guards fault, that’s the reality of years of under resourcing the garda institution as a whole, and let’s face it, without going the full Jim Corr on it, there has been absolutely no political will to improve the fraud bureau, increase its size or provide any forensic accountancy courses to the unit. This same tiny fraud squad are said to be investigating 14 other NAMA-related cases. On Friday, they were thrown the whole Prime-Time medical supplies case. All this on top of whatever other investigations they have going on. You’re delusional if you think there will be a proper police investigation in this state.

  9. Kolmo

    Who is feeding TD Wallace with all of these gems? Without him and others, we’d hear nothing of these greasy goings-on

    Toothless talking shop of a place

  10. Matthew O' Reilly

    Weather or not Wallace is interested i grabbing headlines for himself is irrelevant. He has put before the people of Ireland an accusation of immense importance to the State and it’s people as a whole. Nama are supposed to be selling property on behalf of the Irish people. There is no question that it is not in the business of obtaining the best results but there is not no shady goings on going down, when a few Euro can be made on the side by the personal involved. Wallace, a builder himself knows how shady deals go down.
    However we are interested in the Eagle project, compared to this business the thirty grand is small change. Looking at the finer details of the activities of our Nama representatives we come to understand that ordinary peoples lives can be seriously adversely affected by the loopy shenanigans of people who look for backhanders. For example, are people being made homeless by this kind of roguery? What if anything are the Government representatives doing to check that Nama people don’t get up to shady carry on during legitimate transactions. This is a very valid question, and Wallace’s revelations are opens a potential can of worms that clearly shows something is not quite right with regards to the doings of our Nama employees.

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