Nama probe will go on despite Stormont crisis

The finance committee has been holding an inquiry into the Nama Northern Ireland loan deal
Brendan Hughes

THE Stormont finance committee's Nama inquiry will continue despite the ongoing political crisis threatening the future of the power-sharing executive.

MLAs are expected to still attend scheduled assembly committee meetings over the coming weeks.

The finance committee has been conducting an inquiry into the £1.3bn sale of Nama's property loan portfolio in Northern Ireland.

It followed allegations made in the Dáil in July that a northern politician was set to personally benefit from the deal.

The future of the probe seemed unclear after DUP ministers resigned from the executive on Thursday amid a political fallout over the murder of ex-IRA man Kevin McGuigan.

But a Northern Ireland Assembly spokeswoman yesterday confirmed that "committees are still continuing".

The finance committee will also still have the required number of MLAs to hold meetings and make decisions even if DUP members refuse to turn up.

The committee has 11 members, including four from the DUP and one Ulster Unionist.

A quorum of five is required to open meetings and vote on matters.

If this falls to four during a meeting, members can still continue with proceedings but cannot make any decisions.

Nama (National Asset Management Agency) is the 'bad bank' set up by the Republic to clear property loans from bailed out lenders.

Independent TD Mick Wallace claimed in the Dáil that a £7m offshore account linked to the northern Nama deal was earmarked for a Northern Ireland politician or political party.

A criminal investigation led by the British National Crime Agency (NCA) has also been launched.

Earlier this month Belfast businessman Gareth Graham told the Stormont probe he had tapes of phone calls showing an "ingrained culture of inappropriate and possibly illegal conduct" across political, banking, legal and accountancy sectors.

The finance committee is to due to meet with the Dáil public accounts committee in Dublin over their respective probes on Nama.

The Stormont committee's next meeting is due to take place on Wednesday.

Read the full background to the £7m Nama scandal

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Analysis: Questions in the Nama sale which remain unanswered
Allister says 'immediate questions need answered on 'NAMAgate'
TD claims further revelations to come on NI Nama sale
Peter Robinson: I met with US firm over Nama portfolio
Secret tapes stored on £7m Nama deal
Explosive claims about £7m 'earmarked for politician"





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