Tag Archives: ODCE

This afternoon.

In the Dáil.

TDs made statements on the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, received by Fine Gael’s Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor.

It followed the acquittal of former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank Sean Fitzpatrick earlier this week, after lead investigator from the ODCE shredded documents which were relevant to the investigation.

Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty said:

“The first thing I think we need to say, in relation to this debate, is that Ireland doesn’t do prosecution of white collar crime and it’s not just this collapse of this trial or the acquittal of Seanie Fitzpatrick, but it’s, for decades now, we’ve seen that thread.

“We’ve seen the underfunding of resources, of agencies that are supposed to be tackling white collar crime, we see staff resources being cut and we see our legislative framework, that should underpin a strong, robust anti-corruption and white collar crime agenda, simply not there.

“My colleague spoke about the request, when the ODCE was established in 2001, and it was established as a result of the tribunals of investigation, the massive corruption that we’ve seen in those tribunals, tribunals that span three decades, yet only one conviction because of corruption.

“Despite the fact that we know that politicians were up to their neck in it, in relation to brown envelopes. Despite the fact that we know that people had benefitted, in terms of their own lifestyle as a result of backhanders given to people in influential places but CAB didn’t go in and seize the assets at that time, because there’s one rule for certain individuals and another rule for others.

“But when it was established in 2001, within a number of years, the director was requesting resources. The director wrote to Micheál Martin, who was the line minister at that time in 2005, and continued to write to him over a period of time, telling him that the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement was wholly inadequately resourced.

“Minister Martin at the time refused the request and at a time when tens of thousands of additional public sector workers were bing recruited, not an additional staff member was given to the Office of Director of Corporate Enforcement.

“Bertie Ahern, sitting for years where you’re sitting today, and said that they needed to wait their turn. And, at the same time, at the same time, Seanie Fitzpatrick and his ilk were setting in train the economic disaster that people the length and breath of this country had to endure over the last ten years. And that is a symbol of how this country deals with white collar crime. Continue reading

Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Earlier today.

During Leaders’ Questions.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny was asked about former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank Seán Fitzpatrick being acquitted of furnishing false information to Anglo’s auditors.

The acquittal followed solicitor with the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) Kevin O’Connell admitting that he had destroyed documents relevant to the criminal proceedings against Mr FitzPatrick, among other matters.

During Leaders’ Questions, Mr Kenny said:

“The ODCE is a statutory independent body. Its mother Department, the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, has no responsibility or power of enforcement. The ODCE takes its own legal advice. There were gardaí attached to the ODCE in the beginning but they were not involved in the way this case was taken. The judge did point out that the most fundamental error was the way in which they went about taking evidence from the auditors of Anglo Irish Bank, who were both from the firm of accountants involved.

He said that it was intended that their statements would be taken in the normal way by members of the Garda Síochána who were then attached to the ODCE. Instead, however, the statements were obtained through solicitors from a legal firm.

The ODCE pointed out that it has now undergone substantial organisational change and that it was simply not equipped to undertake parallel investigations on the scale involved. I want to say this: I have not spent the past six years as head of Government and making very difficult decisions only to hear again now the allegation in respect of white-collar crime that people can walk away, that nobody is guilty and that nothing is being done about it.

“Let us, as a Parliament, decide what we must do with an organisation like the ODCE. I can confirm that when the Minister for Education and Skills, Deputy Bruton, had responsibility for jobs, requests by the ODCE to his then Department for resources were granted. Now I find that the ODCE says it was simply not equipped to take parallel investigations on the scale involved.

I can confirm that the Minister has asked the Director of Corporate Enforcement for a full report, including on the role of all professionals involved in this case. That report will cover the issues involved since 2008 when this case commenced – almost ten years ago. Nothing is ruled out.

“When Deputy Catherine Murphy had her full group, she put forward a proposition for a statutory standing body in the Dáil to deal with matters of corruption and so on.”

“The Minister will bring this before Government in due course. The Government will consider it next week, but I want the Minister to carry out an absolute review of what happened. It is not good enough.”

Sigh.

Transcript via Oireachtas.ie

Earlier: A Moment Of Panic