Stormont MLAs to be invited to help grill Nama chiefs in Dail

Stormont MLAs could help question Nama officials at the Dail's public accounts committee on September 22

THE chair of the Dáil's public spending watchdog hopes members of Stormont's finance committee will travel to Dublin to help TDs grill senior Nama officials.

Séan Fleming told The Irish News that the unprecedented invitation would enable cross-border co-operation in probing the Project Eagle sale without the need for new legislation.

There have been calls in recent days for all-Ireland investigation into the controversy surrounding Northern Ireland's biggest ever property deal.

In the latest revelations relating to the £1.24bn sale, that saw Nama's northern loans sold to US firm Cerberus, BBC Spotlight broadcast recordings of the 'bad bank's' then adviser Frank Cushnahan receiving £40,000 in cash from property developer and Nama client John Miskelly.

A report by the Republic's Comptroller and Auditor General - expected to be published on Wednesday - is thought to show that "hundreds of millions of euros" may not have been realised for taxpayers in Nama's sale of its northern properties.

Full Nama coverage

Nama, which has already reported Mr Cushnahan to gardaí and Britain's National Crime Agency, has now lodged a new complaint about its former adviser with the Republic's Standards in Public Office Commission.

Mr Cushnahan served on Nama's Northern Ireland advisory committee for three years to 2013 after being recommended for the post by then Stormont finance minister Sammy Wilson. He denies wrongdoing.

Mr Fleming said he would seek the support of fellow members of the Dail's public accounts committee next week to invite MLAs to Dublin when Nama appears before TDs later this month.

"As Nama has so far refused to before Stormont's finance committee as part of the MLAs' investigation into Project Eagle, we would happily ask questions on their behalf," the Fianna Fail TD said.

He said ultimately he hoped the invitation could be reciprocated and that TDs could attend a finance committee hearing at Stormont.

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