Martin McGuinness advisor did not show him Nama document

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, attends the funeral of playwright Brian Friel at Glenties Cemetery in Co Donegal. Picture by Niall Carson/PA Wire 

MARTIN McGuinness was not privy to an email containing a memorandum of understanding about the acquisition of Nama's Northern Ireland assets, his former special advisor has claimed. 

In a written submission to the finance and personnel committee, Dara O'Hagan said she did receive an email in December 2013 which contained what appeared to be a draft memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Stormont Executive and Pimco, a potential buyer of Nama's northern loan portfolio.

It was sent by David McCreedie from the First Minister's Office in Stormont Castle. 

But Ms O'Hagan said that after speaking to another special adviser Vincent Parker they had decided not to bring it to the Deputy First Minister's attention because there was no request made in the email "to formally pursue the approach" by the First Minister's Office. 

Ms O'Hagan said: "Our assessment was that if there was any proposal to formally pursue this approach, the deputy First Minister could not support it. No such proposal was made and no further action was taken."

Ms O'Hagan states that the correct protocol would require the submission of an Executive paper by the Department of Finance and Personnel to the OFMdFM for consideration. 

As this did not happen, she said "it was not necessary to bring this issue to the attention of the deputy First Minister".

Her submission does not, however, outline why the deputy First Minister would not have supported the proposal in the event a formal submission had been made. 

The deputy first minister has consistently said that he was "neither fully briefed on or fully engaged" with the process leading to the sale of NAMA's northern loan portfolio.

Yesterday Sinn Fein said that Mr McGuinness was kept in the dark by the First Minister with regards an MoU proposed by Cerberus in March 2014, after Pimco had pulled out of the running. 

He has also said he had no knowledge of a secret meeting between Cerberus's Dan Quayle, the former vice president of the US and Peter Robinson also in March.

Mr McGuinness was, however, present during a conference call in January 2014 with Peter Robinson and Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan, where the MoU was raised by the First Minister.

The call log does not record any comments made by Mr McGuinness. 

Mr McGuinness has consistently denied all knowledge of the email sent to Ms O'Hagan since it was revealed last month by DUP committee member Jim Wells. Mr McGuinness said there was no consent from his office to send the letter to Nama.

While questioning Mr McGuinness during a Stormont committee hearing last month, Mr Wells said that the  document was "so explosive that no-one could claim that they didn't know what was going on." 

The email sent to Ms O'Hagan by the First Minister's Office in December has yet to be submitted to the finance and personnel committee as evidence. 

Ms O'Hagan also claimed that the draft document she received was not the same document which was sent by the First Minister's office to Nama on January 20, 2014. 

The Irish News was told by one person close to the situation that there were "significant differences" between the two documents. 

Ms O'Hagan did not send the document to the committee as part of her written submission but said she would do so once the National Crime Agency had given her the go-ahead.

The NCA is investigating a £7.5 million payment to an offshore bank account linked to the Nama sale.

When Nama's chairman Frank Daly was questioned in July about the MoU by the Irish parliament's public accounts committee he describe Pimco's letter as appearing to "summarise an agreement" between Pimco and the Northern Ireland Executive.

Mr Daly described it as "a debtors' charter, which we would never have countenanced".

He went further, adding: "There are several conditions in it that would have been unacceptable to us and, in fact, were quite offensive in terms of the way we dealt with debtors and assets."

The first item on the memo was the release of "all corporate guarantees and personal guarantees... for nil payment".

Pimco was in the running for the loan book until the company's compliance staff informed Nama that a former Nama advisor, Frank Cushnahan, stood to earn ££5m in fees should the company win the bid.

Pimco subsequently stepped out of the bidding process leaving two other bidders - Cerberus, which ultimately bought the £1.3bn portfolio, and Fortress.

The daughter of prominent Lurgan republican Joe O'Hagan, Ms O'Hagan is a former assembly member who now works as a special adviser to Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure Caral Ni­ Chuila­n.


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