The proposed National Assets Management Agency (Nama) will be open to interference from Finance Minister Brian Lenihan, Opposition politicians claimed tonight.
The Labour Party rounded on the minister and claimed there was potential for Fianna Fáil to meddle with the toxic assets agency.
Leader Eamon Gilmore said massive powers would be given to Mr Lenihan swamping Nama’s independence.
“Anybody who’s worried about political interference should look very closely at what the Government is proposing to do in its own bill,” Mr Gilmore said.
“There are huge powers being given in this Bill to the Minister for Finance and huge potential for the Minister for Finance to politically interfere and for Fianna Fáil to politically interfere and intervene.”
Mr Gilmore also accused Fianna Fáil of taking a huge risk and gamble with taxpayers’ money to buy up bad debts.
The party said a second issue it had with the plan was the potential for over-inflated prices to be paid to take bad assets off the banks’ books.
The Nama legislation is to be debated in the Dáil next week.
Joan Burton, finance spokeswoman, said a clear statement was needed from Mr Lenihan about the €90bn worth of loans and assets to be bought up.
“We need a consolidated statement of the position of each of the top 100 developers whose loans are proposed for transfer to Nama,” Ms Burton said.
“While the identities of the individuals need not be revealed, we need a clear picture of the state’s potential exposure.”
She hit out at a suggested 15%-20% discount paid to the banks for the loans claiming many property and building companies were applying write-downs of 52%.
“I would be very surprised if it was lower than that and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was higher,” she said.
Mr Gilmore questioned why the property information and transactions were being kept confidential, claiming there should be transparency.
The party again pushed its temporary nationalisation scheme as an alternative to the Nama plan but claimed it could not give the cost to the taxpayer until it had all the details on the distressed loans.