Vatican police raided the offices of the Holy See’s Secretariat of State and its Financial Information Authority, or AIF, on Tuesday and took away documents and electronic devices as part of an investigation of suspected financial irregularities, a Vatican statement said.
…The Vatican statement gave no details except to say that the operation was a follow-up to complaints filed in the summer by the Vatican bank and the Office of the Auditor General and were related to “financial operations carried out over the course of time”.
A senior Vatican source said he believed the operation, which the statement said had been authorized by Vatican prosecutors, had to do with real estate transactions
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in Rome, Italy
Via The Daily Beast:
The Daily Beast has learned that [Attorney General] Bill Barr and [US attorney] John Durham were especially interested in what the Italian secret service knew about Joseph Mifsud, the erstwhile professor from Malta who had allegedly promised then candidate Donald Trump’s campaign aide George Papadopoulos he could deliver Russian “dirt” on Hillary Clinton
….The sources in Rome who confirmed that Barr andDurham came to learn more about Mifsud also told The Daily Beast that they expected Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to meet the same intelligence agencies on his state visit that began yesterday.
Pompeo is meeting the Italian president, the prime minister, and the Pope while in Rome. His official mandate is to discuss Libya, China trade, and sanctions on Russia, which Italy does not support. Pompeo will also be spending time with the U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican….
Anne-Marie McNally, of the Social Democrats, writes:
“This is a come-along event, no tickets required, all welcome on the evening. We’ll be talking about how we can and should do things differently – how do we make politics serve the people rather than the golden circle of the same faces and names that keep cropping up; and how do we develop and implement proper transparency with real accountability in a way that allows people to trust the system? I’ll open up, Catherine Murphy will speak, followed by Fintan O’Toole, then I’ll close.”
“I border on resenting since I came up [from West Cork] here how the agenda is set by the media continuously and I find it very difficult to understand and I think, if anything it is eroding our reputation and our democracy and how this house works is reactive pandering to the agenda set by the media.
I mean in fairness to Morning Ireland they even admitted that they call it “setting the agenda for the day” and we in this House [Dáil] go off on a, on a tangent following whatever the media are talking about, and the first thing that struck me when I saw this motion [a proposal by the Social Democrats to set up an anti-corruption agency] I was saying ‘God that’s very curious timing’ the day after following the programme on RTÉ last night but that was the most hyped programme.
…I didn’t see the programme I must confess at this stage but it was the most hyped and sensationalised and advertised, I didn’t see RTÉ promote anything with such gusto as they promoted that last week and here we are again in this House just reacting, doing the same thing reacting to the same agenda led by the editors outside in Montrose.
Maybe we should hand over the order of business to the editors outside in Montrose, and let them dictate the pace of, and what we discuss here.”
Jim Daly, Fine Gael TD on RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland.
The saddest thing about the Prime Time special is that it will serve to put off more young people from getting involved in politics. What is needed is exactly the opposite however. Only by standing up for high moral and ethical standards can you hope to have them implemented.
Only by asking the tough questions where it matters will things change. That is why Ógra’s five representatives to the Fianna Fáil Ard Chomhairle will be proposing the immediate adoption of measures, including:
An obligation for annual full public publication of all political party accounts;
One single independent oversight body for ethics in public life covering both elected politicians and officials.
Sufficiant staffing of same body to carry out rigorous investigations of declarations akin to those done by RTÉ.
All candidates for election should sign a declaration of interests before the election….
The programme will reveal the extent and nature of breaches [of ethics legislation] across the political system. As a result of RTÉ’s investigation, a number of politicians at both council and Oireachtas level have already corrected the record. The programme also focuses on particular cases where evidence of direct conflicts of interest has been found.
Given the scale and, in some in some cases, the severity of non-declarations, the investigation narrowed to concentrate on a select number of councillors. An RTÉ undercover investigative reporter contacted these people. The programme will broadcast footage from these meetings and will reveal requests for personal rewards to carry out work as a public representative….
RTÉ Investigates – Standards in Public Office, Monday December 7 at 9.35pm on RTÉ One.
Earlier, at a meeting of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, Labour TD for Dublin South-Central Eric Byrne asked the Nigerian ambassador to Ireland, Her Excellency Mrs Bolere Elizabeth Ketebu about emigration, youth unemployment, inequality and the role successive governments have played in corruption.
Rezoning plans (top) and an extract from the Moriarty Tribunal Report
Actio Non Accrevit writes:
“The NAMA Act 2009 as amended by Section 25 of the Finance Act 2010 provided that where land was sold on or after 30 October 2009, and the land in question had been re-zoned since 30 October 2009, then CGT at a rate of 80% applied to any increase in the market value of the land which is attributable to rezoning, which could not be offset against capital losses incurred on the disposal of other assets.
This was known as the Windfall Tax and was applauded by Justice Michael Moriarty in his tribunal findings as a dramatic measure to reduce corruption.
One little-discussed change in Budget 2015 was the repeal of this tax, which had been been strongly and persistently criticised by persons working in the property industry as a serious obstacle to the development of new housing. Although they would say that in circumstances where rezoning and greater capital gains made by developers benefit property professionals generally….
However, is this really true in circumstances where there is already no shortage of land zoned for residential development? According to the Society of Chartered Surveyors there is already enough land zoned for housing in greater Dublin to build 100,000 dwellings.
What is clear is that the ‘windfall tax’ has been quietly abolished and the risk of rezoning corruption is back on the table again. The more people who know about this, the better chance we have of preventing such corruption…Thank you.”