Fianna Fáil Finance spokesperson Michael McGrath has said Michael Noonan’s decision to appoint a professional advisory firm involved in the Siteserv deal to now review that very deal, along with other major transactions at IBRC, as very unwise and as damaging to public confidence in the review he has established.
Deputy McGrath commented, “KPMG was one of the financial advisers to Siteserv when it was sold for €45 million in April 2012. It is entirely inappropriate that the same firm now be appointed to carry out an investigation into this and other transactions at IBRC. One of the purposes of this review must surely be to restore confidence in the manner in which deals involving huge amounts of public money were conducted by IBRC. In seeking to do so, Minister Noonan has made a very poor start by giving the task to a firm which was involved in a transaction that has been the subject of great controversy. At a very minimum, the appointment of KPMG creates a perception of a conflict of interest and undermines the very purpose for which the review has been set up. This is the case without casting any aspersions on the individuals involved in advising on the Siteserv deal or in the Special Liquidation of IBRC.
“It is vital that taxpayers have confidence that all commercial decisions made by IBRC were in the best interests of the State. I have no basis for suggesting that all decisions were not made in that spirit. However, public confidence is best restored by the maximum amount of transparency, and by appointing KPMG to conduct this review Minister Noonan has missed an opportunity. In the specific case of Siteserv, one obvious question which springs to mind is why IBRC did not sell the loans associated with the company rather than becoming involved in a more complex transaction which resulted in a €5m payment to the shareholders of the company
“On a broader level, one cannot but conclude that the tensions between the Department of Finance and IBRC management, and the concerns the Minister had about a number of issues at the bank, may have influenced his decision to ultimately liquidate the bank in February 2013 under special legislation. The Minister needs to ensure that the review comprehensively addresses the various concerns that were raised by Department of Finance officials in relation to transactions entered into by IBRC from its nationalisation to the appointment of a Special Liquidator. It is my clear view that the process now being put in place will not achieve this and the Minister needs to go back to the drawing board and come up with a mechanism that will deal with the very real concerns held by the public,” concluded Deputy McGrath.