News

Nama: David Ford claims Peter Robinson and Sammy Wilson made ‘errors of judgement'

Alliance leader David Ford and former DUP leader Peter Robinson during a debate in Belfast's Waterfront Hall in 2011 

JUSTICE minister David Ford has claimed the DUP's Peter Robinson and Sammy Wilson made major "errors of judgement" on the Nama Northern Ireland property deal.

Mr Ford also said an independent inquiry is now needed to "show politics is clean".

The Alliance leader was speaking following the latest revelations about the £1.2bn sale, which is already the subject of investigations by Britain's National Crime Agency and Stormont's finance committee.

"With no disrespect to (the finance) committee – as a committee of partisan politicians they weren’t the right place to explore the issues," Mr Ford said.

"And there are clearly now issues being raised that at least call into question errors of judgement and fairly major ones on the part of Peter Robinson and Sammy Wilson.

"There are challenges that require something to show politics is clean and that can only be done with some sort of independent inquiry."

Mr Robinson was first minister and Mr Wilson finance minister in the run-up to the sale of the Nama portfolio of Northern Ireland loans to US 'vulture' fund Cerberus.

Last summer the Dail heard claims that around £7m was being held in an Isle of Man bank account "reportedly earmarked for a politician or political party" in connection with the deal.

Former DUP leader Mr Robinson later rejected as "scurrilous and unfounded" an allegation that he was to receive a payment upon completion of the sale.

And giving evidence to a finance committee hearing in December, Mr Wilson described it "a Mickey Mouse exercise".

Covert footage emerged this week of ex-Nama adviser Frank Cushnahan saying he was due a secret 'fixer's fee' as part of the sale.

The Policing Board heard yesterday that the National Crime Agency (NCA) has approached the BBC following the claims in the Spotlight programme.

Mr Cushnahan, a friend of former First Minister Peter Robinson, was appointed to Nama's Northern Ireland advisory committee on the recommendation of then Stormont finance minister Sammy Wilson.

Speaking from his home in a gated-community in Holywood yesterday, the businessman refused to comment on the latest revelations.

Mr Cushnahan also would not comment on a suggestion he had been interviewed by the NCA.

"The answer to this is I have no comments to make, and I'm not going to be, with what's going on with the National Crime Agency, in circumstances where a programme has come out.

"So look, it's kind of you to ring, but I am making no comments," he said.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

News