Republic of Ireland news

Nama scandal: Peter Robinson to be invited to speak to Dáil committee

The Republic's Public Accounts Committee is probing the sale of Nama's northern loan book

FORMER First Minister Peter Robinson is to be invited to give evidence to the Republic's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) as part of its investigation into the sale of Nama's northern loan book.

The ex-DUP leader is one of several witnesses the committee plans to invite, including deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, the Republic's finance minister Michael Noonan and Nama chairman Frank Daly.

Mr Noonan and Nama representatives have already indicated they will attend. However there is no guarantee everyone invited will agree to speak to the PAC - and it has has no power to compel anyone outside the Republic, including Mr Robinson, to come before it.

The PAC announced its work programme for the coming months yesterday - a week after a report into the controversial £1.24 billion sale, known as Project Eagle, criticised Nama's valuation of its northern assets.

The report from the Republic's Comptroller & Auditor General (C&AG) found Nama undervalued its northern assets by as much as £190 million when selling it to US firm Cerberus in 2014.

However Nama dismissed the report's findings and insisted it achieved the "best commercial outcome".

The C&AG report also raised concerns about how Nama handled potential conflicts of interest involving Co Down businessman Frank Cushnahan, who acted as a Northern Ireland adviser from 2010 to 2014.

Earlier this month BBC Spotlight broadcast secret audio recordings of Mr Cushnahan accepting £40,000 in cash from Co Down developer John Miskelly, whose properties were under Nama's control. Mr Cushnahan, who has denied any wrongdoing, has said he cannot comment given an ongoing National Crime Agency (NCA) probe into the Project Eagle sale.

Mr Miskelly has said "payments made by me to any persons have been lawful".

The PAC's work programme is to begin on September 29 as it meets representatives from the C&AG and Nama. Mr Noonan is to come before the committee on October 6.

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