With the Dail’s PAC investigation into NAMA continuing, Ulster Unionist MLA Roy Beggs has called on the former Minister Finance Sammy Wilson to publish all information relating to the meetings he attended in relation to the sale of the property portfolio. The need for transparency has increased over recent days after it was sensationally revealed that a law firm connected to the NAMA property sale was effectively selling access to the Northern Ireland Executive.
Roy Beggs MLA said:
“With more and more information emerging from the ongoing scrutiny of the NAMA £1.2bn property sale there are growing questions being asked as to the probity of the actions of Peter Robinson and Sammy Wilson.
“In particular they need to account for their attendance at meetings with NAMA insider and the potential bidder, PIMCO.
“It was Sammy Wilson who recommended to the Irish Finance Minister that Frank Cushnahan be appointed to the NAMA NI Advisory committee. In the subsequent investigations into the NAMA affair it came to light that a highly sensitive report on the loan portfolio was shown to Mr Cushnahan.”
PIMCO have stated on the record that they attended a meeting in May 2013 with the then First Minster Mr Robinson, the then Finance Minister, Sammy Wilson, Mr Cushnahan (the NAMA insider who also was later filmed receiving £40,000 cash from a developer), Mr Ian Coulter the former managing partner of Tughans (who had later diverted £7m to the Isle of Man Account) and a representative of US law firm, Brown Rudnick.
Roy Beggs said:
“Why did Sammy Wilson and Peter Robinson facilitate a meeting at Stormont with a NAMA NI Advisory Committee member, who would have had inside information, and a company and its advisors who were interested in buying the NAMA property portfolio. Why did Ministers not recognise this conflict of interest or at the very least a potential conflict of interest?”
In a letter to the PAC committee dated 8th November 2016, PIMCO, a US multi-national company have stated,
“Following a meeting organised by the three parties with the First Minster Peter Robinson and Minister for Finance Sammy Wilson, which took place in May 2013, PIMCO was informed by Brown Rudnick that it was the Northern Irish Government’s preferred purchaser for NAMA’s Northern Irish loan portfolio.”
Roy Beggs said “How could this have happened?”
In addition, PIMCO also disclosed their understanding that in a letter, Legal firm, Brown Rudnick sought “limited exclusivity” and that the then Minister Sammy Wilson wrote to his counterpart, Minister Noonan TD, enclosing the letter from Brown Rudnick.
Again Roy Beggs MLA asked Sammy Wilson to explain why he wrote in his capacity as Finance Minister, to the Minister with responsibility for NAMA enclosing this request for exclusivity. Ultimately, whilst PIMCO withdrew, the same advisors continued to assist Cerberus who bought the properties just above the minimum price set by NAMA.
In conclusion Roy Beggs MLA said,
“With every new revelations, the greater the need there is to shed light on this whole sordid process. Even though Sammy Wilson and Peter Robinson are no longer in the Assembly, and therefore no longer open to scrutiny by the Standards Committee, they still have the opportunity to provide much needed clarification in terms of who they met, why they met them and what was the outcome of the meetings? I would urge them to do so to avoid further erosion of public confidence in the institutions.”