The Department of Finance and Personnel Committee met today to schedule hearings to investigate the Project Eagle sale of Nama’s Loan Book in the north.
The first of the hearings have been provisionally scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday the 15th and 16th of July
The Assembly Research Team have been tasked with providing a draft of questions and timeline of events to the Committee.
There was widespread support for early hearings across all the parties attending, given the level of public interest and the continuing drip of information into the public domain.
So who has the DFP Committee summoned and what is their role?
Firstly, Department of Finance and Personnel officials who may have insight into the Project Eagle sales process and to the appointments of Nama’s NI Advisory Committee members.
The two members of that Nama Advisory Committee Frank Cushnahan and Brian Rowntree are to be called to give evidence on what the know about the Project Eagle sale and any alleged impropriety.
Former Managing Partner at Tughans solicitors, Ian Coulter, will no doubt be in for quite a grilling from Committee members.
Former Finance Minister Sammy Wilson is to be asked what he knew about the deal, given that it took place during his term of office and that he was involved in the NIAC appointments process.
Successful bidder Cerberus and Pimco, who withdrew from the sales process following concerns raised about third party payments in their due diligence process, are on the list.
From a legal side we have the trio of Tughans in Belfast, recipient of the alleged £7 million fee, Brown Rudnick in London who sub-contracted Tughans and A&L Goodbody who are Cerberus’ usual legal firm.
On the banking front, Lizards who ran the sales process on behalf of Nama will be called. It was also agreed that steps would be taken to determine which bank operated or facilitated the opening of the Isle of Man account and whether that was done in compliance with the applicable laws.
The Committee intends to call representatives of Nama and Mick Wallace TD, whose statement in Leinster House last week that Tughans’ £7 million fee included an alleged payment to a politician brought the Project Eagle sale into the public domain once again.
Finally it was suggested that all elected representatives who had met with Cerberus – those who had publicly declared they had and those who may yet to declare such meetings – be asked to give an account of their contact. Based on his own statements, we know this will include the First Minister, Peter Robinson.
One thing for certain, it could be an interesting July fortnight for a whole different set of reasons.