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Opposition parties unite to slam DUP; Nama inquiry warning rapped.

Byline: DAVID YOUNG

CLAIMS that a fresh Stormont inquiry into the Nama controversy would prejudice a criminal inquiry have been branded a smokescreen designed to thwart accountability.

Opposition parties heavily criticised a DUP warning over a further Finance Committee probe as MLAs debated the furore surrounding Northern Ireland's largest ever property deal.

Sinn Fein also questioned the worth of a renewed inquiry, and the parties combined to successfully pass an amendment to an Ulster Unionist motion that removed reference to the call for a new probe by MLAs.

The clash came on the first official day of Opposition as the UUP and SDLP tried to tackle Sinn Fein and the DUP.

Allegations of wrongdoing surrounding the PS1.2billion deal between Nama and US investment giant Cerberus are currently subject to an investigation by the UK's National Criminal Agency and authorities in the Republic of Ireland and the US.

UUP leader Mike Nesbitt said: "There is an NCA investigation, which is an g investigation - not an excuse to ignore the will of this House."

The SDLP's Alex Attwood said: "The words perverse and bizarre are a smokescreen to deny accountability. Let not this chamber allow a smokescreen be sent out in relation to this matter through the voices of the DUP." Th s --h he DUP's Emma Little Pengelly, who chairs the committee, accused Opposition parties of indulging in self-publicity, branding calls for a new committee inquiry "bizarre and perverse".

Sinn Fein's John O'Dowd said it was "clear something stinks at the heart of Nama".

But he expressed doubt the Committee could get to the truth of it.

The 2014 sale of Nama's 800 Northern Ireland properties has been dogged by controversy since PS7million linked to it was found in an Isle of Man bank account.

BBC Spotlight also reported a meeting where was alleged developer John Miskelly gave Frank Cushnahan, a former member of Nama's Northern Ireland advisory committee, PS40,000.

irish@mgn.co.uk

PS7m linked to Nama sale of NI properties was found in Manx bank account

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 27, 2016
Words:339
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