On the RTÉ news website today there is a headline:
NAMA close to selling properties worth €500m
Advanced discussions with who exactly and what properties? And how do these potential buyers know what NAMA is considering selling? It's an offence to lobby NAMA so if people are hustling NAMA, to cherrypick properties that it has in its possession, would that qualify as a lobbying offence?NAMA is in advanced discussions to dispose of €500m worth of properties.
NAMA also claims that an indebted developer/company cannot repurchase its loans/properties/land back from NAMA at a reduced/distressed price. I have seen several suggestions, on p.ie and elsewhere, of the possibility of new companies/syndicates being set up for the sole purchase of buying back the very same distressed loans/properties/land, that they originally had transferred into NAMA, at significant discounts. This is a realistic concern and is probably achieveable through new labyrinthine vehicles, possibly offshore, but where the ultimate beneficiaries are the very same people whose loans NAMA took over in the first place.
Unless NAMA operates in a more transparent manner when it comes to selling properties then this suspicion will always be present. Therefore, I ask the question, should NAMA openly advertise all properties, without exception, that it intends to sell, and furthermore should it reveal who bought them? I am sure there are members of the public, not to mention foreign investors, who do have cash/savings, who may be interested in some bargains as they arise. Why shouldn't the public and/or foreign investors be offered the opportunity to purchase them? And is there not an argument that all properties should be auctioned to the highest bidder in order to get the highest return for the taxpayer?
God knows NAMA has an army of contracted estate agents, valuers and auctioneers hired through tenders who could oversee this process and even set up a website, as an extension to NAMA's existing one, where such properties could be openly advertised. It's what they do for a living themselves anyway, so there's nothing complicated about it.
Or is NAMA just going to operate in secrecy and potentially let the usual suspects cherrypick bargains from right under our noses?