Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Thursday, 30 May 2019
Public Accounts Committee
2017 Annual Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General and Appropriation Accounts
Vote 7 - Office of the Minister for Finance
Chapter 1 - Exchequer Financial Outturn for 2017
Chapter 22 - Irish Fiscal Advisory Council
We have been through it before but we got no answers and we have this charade going on down in the High Court where on the one hand we are not allowed to have the answers because the matter is sub judice. This committee has offered to try to see if we can help. The Chief State Solicitor's office, without checking with us, put it into a letter of correspondence to the applicant in the case to ask if the applicant would pull back if it let the Committee of Public Accounts do a bit of work. All we want to do is save a little bit of money, get the appropriate oversight and, meanwhile, we have a case going on in the High Court where nobody is engaging with anybody. We are heading for €306 million in taxpayers' money for this liquidation. I have a report in front of me today that was commissioned by a third party where Professor Constantin Gurdgiev effectively said that as a consequence of the failure to properly account, analyse, assess, challenge or monitor, or both, the costs of the interests of the Irish taxpayer and ultimately all creditors of IBRC have not been or are not being adequately protected. That happens to be my uneducated, ordinary five-eight view, as articulated at this committee many times over the past two years, but he comes with a bit of credibility. When we were last here we did have the relevant person, a former employee of KPMG apparently - not that that is an issue - and he was able to tell us that about two people were dedicated to this.
The other issue is that we are not even going to be able to adjudge at the very end, whenever the end is, on the performance, because part of the terms of reference, when one puts it all together, there was no valuation of the assets or expected recoverable value of the assets held at the time of liquidation, so that established no benchmark or key performance indicators for liquidation process performance. We are all just going to arrive at the end and say we did a tremendous job, which we know cost €306 million, because we will have nothing to compare it with and we will have added no oversight other than the glorified PowerPoint presentation that is rolled out, the most recent one being on 22 May, with headline issues, but it is not remotely the sort of detail that was available to me when I was voluntarily liquidating my own very modest business. I did not have any creditors because I paid all the bills. It is totally unacceptable.