Call to strengthen watchdog

THE finance minister has been asked to boost the role of the state spending watchdog by strengthening its offices to monitor the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA).

Recommendations have also been sent to Brian Lenihan to consider allowing the spending watchdog to review more state agencies as well as local authorities.

The request was made by the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on behalf of the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG).

Recent legislation for NAMA requires the C&AG’s offices to carry out a review of the agency every three years, as well as its accounts.

In a letter sent to Mr Lenihan yesterday, PAC chairman Bernard Allen said the committee had agreed to recommend the role of the state spending watchdog be boosted by the availability of “suitably qualified audit staff” and a budget for its work on NAMA.

PAC also called for the C&AG’s offices to be allowed extend its remit to examine the effectiveness of state agencies.

Controversy arose recently over the inability of C&AG John Buckley to investigate and monitor the financial affairs of the Dublin Docklands Development Authority.

Environment Minister John Gormley has said the C&AG cannot oversee the work of the docklands authority, as it is only obliged to oversee bodies getting more than half their funding from the Exchequer (not the case with the DDDA).


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