Given the sums of money involved and the importance of NAMA to the taxpayer, how many of the 50 people the Agency has 'lost' have gone to companies that have done or do business with NAMA?
PAC Hearing | 26 September 2013
Annual Report and Financial Statements 2012: Discussion with National Asset Management Agency (Continued)
Deputy John Deasy: I have another "how many" question... it goes back to those individuals who have worked in NAMA and who went on to work for a company that does business with NAMA. Since NAMA's formation how many people have left the agency and gone to work with companies that do business or have done business with NAMA?
Mr. Brendan McDonagh [NAMA chief executive]: The figure we have quoted is that between last year and this year to date, we have lost 50 people. Some of these people obviously have joined companies which have nothing to do with NAMA. However, to be realistic with the Deputy, a number of other people have joined companies that may have some dealings with NAMA. As I indicated earlier, our best defence against that is to make sure that assets are openly marketed and that, in effect, by having the same information as everyone else, no one can steal a march on anyone else.
John Deasy: Mr. McDonagh knows what I am asking.
Brendan McDonagh: Yes.
John Deasy: I am trying to get the rate here. I worked in the United States and the big debate 20 years ago pertained to the revolving door in respect of United States Senators and Congressmen. Eventually, they dealt with the issue but it took years. They have a vastly more developed lobbying system over there and eventually they were obliged to do something about it. While that has been talked about in Ireland, given the sums of money involved and the importance of NAMA to the taxpayer, can Mr. McDonagh give me an idea of how many of the aforementioned 50 people have gone to companies that have done or do business with NAMA? ... I have been informed that Mr. McDonagh referred to a three month or six month cooling-off period. I am trying to figure out how many people have actually gone to such companies.
Brendan McDonagh: It is a notice period, and during that time, we can put people on gardening leave if we think it necessary to so do. In respect of the property and private equity buyers, probably about five of the 50 staff have gone to those. The rest of the 50 staff have joined other banks or-----
John Deasy: In other words, 10% of the staff went to such organisations.
Brendan McDonagh: Yes.
John Deasy: Is it the case that NAMA is not overly concerned about this?
Brendan McDonagh: The reality is that people have the right to move job. However, they are under contractual obligations and statutory obligations in respect of the Official Secrets Act as well as confidentiality clauses in the NAMA Act. There are provisions to enable one to deal with someone who breaches such obligations. I reiterate that the biggest defence is for an asset, which is put up for sale by NAMA or by the debtor in a case to which NAMA must give its consent, to be openly marketed in order that anyone who can buy that asset has an opportunity to bid for that asset and has the same information as anyone else. It is a difficult issue and I accept what the Deputy is trying to say. The reality is that people will come to work in NAMA, where they will work for a number of years, after which they will try to get a job somewhere else. This is what is happening. People are being given opportunities elsewhere because we cannot compensate them, to be frank with the Deputy, in the context of trying to hold on to them.
Selected contributions, 2013 meetings of PAC
As the public spending watchdog, the Public Accounts Committee is one of the most powerful Oireachtas Committees. It has a key role to play in ensuring that there is accountability and transparency in the way Government agencies allocate, spend and manage their finances and in guaranteeing that the taxpayer receives value for money for every euro spent.