Senior gardaí have refused to say if five secret bank accounts linked to the Garda college financial scandal are tax-compliant — two weeks after being ordered to clarify the issue.
The stalemate has been outlined in a letter to the Dáil public accounts committee in which gardaí admitted the Revenue Commissioner is still examining the accounts amid concerns they do not comply with the law.
In a 10-hour meeting with civilian Garda management two weeks ago, PAC chairman and Fianna Fáil TD Sean Fleming told officers to clarify whether the five accounts holding hundreds of thousands of euro were tax- compliant.
After Garda chief administrative officer Joe Nugent said the controversy was “the subject of discussions with Revenue” and declined to comment further, officers were given 24 hours to clarify whether the accounts had ignored the law.
Despite the deadline, gardaí delayed providing any answer for a week, with a short letter from Mr Nugent sent to the PAC last Friday claiming they cannot answer the question as the Revenue investigation is under way.
“An unprompted disclosure was made to the Revenue Commissioners which covered five tax reference numbers as follows: An Garda Síochána; the Garda college sportsfield company; the Garda college restaurant; the Garda college shop; and the Garda college bar,” stated the letter.
“As correspondence with the Revenue Commissioners is ongoing it would be inappropriate to comment further on compliance until this process has concluded.”
The issue is likely to be raised at a PAC meeting with senior garda management and civilian officers tomorrow before Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan’s appearance next week with officials from the Department of Justice and the Policing Authority.
Among other issues that must be addressed are when Ms O’Sullivan first knew of concerns; claims large quantities of cheques were given to gardaí for unvouched expenses, including trips to Australia; and whether some funds were transferred to an account controlled by a former senior Garda officer.
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