Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Thursday, 8 October 2020
Public Accounts Committee
Special Report 109 of the Comptroller and Auditor General: National Asset Management Agency
National Asset Management Agency - Financial Statements 2019
Mr. Brendan McDonagh:
Yes I will Deputy, I may need a moment to just find it within the documentation here. In overall terms, every procurement policy is in complete compliance with the code of practice issued by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. We allow derogations but these derogations are provided in the context that they do not break European laws, which is a golden rule. The board must approve any derogations which are above €200,000, which is the EU threshold. Most of our derogations arise in two particular areas.
One is on legal services, primarily litigation, where such litigation is taken against us and we have no choice but to defend it. If we have a firm working on a case for a number of years, sometimes in foreign jurisdictions, and there is then suddenly another strand of litigation, it does not make sense to use another firm and we would continue to use that firm. The foreign litigation that we have been involved in has been very expensive.
The other area in which many derogations arise concerns mainly information technology systems where we had spent a great amount of money building a specific IT system for NAMA to suit our business because when we started this agency in 2010 there was no business like NAMA. Sometimes, if we wish to try to do something else and add additional controls, we have to pay for those additional services to enhance systems and controls.