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Richard Pengelly: Nama summons

By Rebecca Black

Published 08/10/2015

Richard Pengelly talks to Stormont’s health committee yesterday
Richard Pengelly talks to Stormont’s health committee yesterday

The civil servant husband of DUP MLA Emma Pengelly has been summoned to give evidence to the Department of Finance committee about the sale of Nama's Northern Ireland portfolio.

Richard Pengelly is currently the permanent secretary in the Department of Health.

Sinn Fein MLA Mairtin O Muilleoir proposed that Mr Pengelly should be called to give evidence, noting that his name had cropped up a number of times during evidence they had been given.

Mrs Pengelly attended her first meeting as a member of the finance committee yesterday and made a declaration of interest over her husband being a former senior civil servant in the Department of Finance.

However, she added "both my husband and I are professionals", and rejected concerns of a "conflict of interest".

After the committee voted to summon Mr Pengelly to give evidence, Mrs Pengelly indicated she would leave the room during his evidence.

"Obviously, I will absent myself from the DFP committee when Richard Pengelly is giving evidence," she posted on Twitter after the meeting.

The finance committee has been conducting an investigation into claims of impropriety in the sale of Nama's Northern Ireland portfolio.

The probe was sparked by allegations made by TD Mick Wallace in the Dail that £7m in fixers' fees were to be paid from an Isle of Man bank account in the wake of the deal.

In an explosive evidence session earlier this month, loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson claimed that First Minister Peter Robinson plus four businessmen were set to benefit from this fixer fee fund.

He claimed the other beneficiaries were to be solicitor Ian Coulter, accountant David Watters, ex-Nama adviser Frank Cushnahan and developer Andrew Creighton.

Mr Bryson did not produce evidence for this claim. The men have rejected this allegation.

Mr Robinson said "the allegations made today lack credibility and can have no evidential basis. The scripted performance was little short of pantomime. It is outrageous that such scurrilous and unfounded allegations can be made without providing one iota of evidence".

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