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Summary

  1. The committee discussed the sale of National Asset Management Agency (Nama) property assets in Northern Ireland.
  2. Specifically, members considered allegations relating to the former committee chairperson from the previous assembly mandate.
  3. Sinn Féin's Daithí McKay resigned as an MLA last month following allegations that he "coached" loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson ahead of an appearance at the committee.

Live Reporting

By Robin Sheeran

All times stated are UK

The committee adjourns

Mrs Pengelly adjourns the committee.

Join us on Monday morning for the first full meeting of the assembly since the summer recess.

The NCA investigation

NCA hats
NCA

The committee now returns to its Nama Inquiry.

The DUP's Emma Pengelly, who is chairing the committee, reminds members that they had a confidential briefing from the National Crime Agency on 11 July, and also took their own legal advice.

The agency has been conducting an investigation into the sale of Nama assets in Northern Ireland.

The chairperson says the legal advice was that "this is a matter of sub judice".

The members agree to write urgently to the NCA for an update on their investigation.

Mrs Pengelly says this is particularly relevant given last night's BBC Spotlight programme.

The Finance Committee Nama inquiry

Background

The Stormont Finance Committee inquiry, chaired originally by Daithi McKay, was set up last year due to political controversy over the multi-million pound sale of Nama's Northern Ireland property portfolio.

It followed an allegation made in the Dáil (Irish parliament) that a politician or political party in Northern Ireland stood to profit from the loan sale.

Last September, Jamie Bryson used a meeting of the Stormont Finance Committee to name former DUP leader Peter Robinson as the individual he referred to as "Person A" in relation to the scandal.

The then first minister of Northern Ireland strongly denied he had sought to benefit in any way from the multi-million pound property deal.

It was subsequently claimed that Mr McKay and another Sinn Féin member advised Mr Bryson about his evidence before the hearing.  

'Absolute transparency'

Caitríona Ruane
bb

Regarding the allegations that Daithí McKay "coached" Jamie Bryson, Caitríona Ruane says: "Sinn Féin have nothing to hide".

She says they want to see "absolute transparency".

The committee's credibility

Jim Allister
BBC

Jim Allister of the TUV says the committee has its own credibility to defend.

He suggests they look at the possibility of tabling an assembly motion calling for the minister to stand aside.

Reminder on the limits of committee's remit

The committee clerk advises members on the limits of their remit.

He says cases involving former MLAs are a matter for the Commissioner for Standards and Privileges.

'Somewhere like Zimbabwe'

Nama sign
BBC

Sinn Féin's Caitríona Ruane says she wants to welcome the minister's agreement to appear.  

The DUP's Jonathan Bell says the circumstances surrounding the alleged "coaching" of Jamie Bryson sound like something that would happen "somewhere like Zimbabwe".

Minister has agreed to appear

Mrs Pengelly says the Finance Minister, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, has agreed to appear at the committee.

He has not replied to the committee's call for him to stand aside.

In the chair

Emma Pengelly
BBC

The DUP's Emma Pengelly is chairing today's meeting of the Finance Committee.

Nama: Frank Cushnahan recorded accepting payment

BBC Spotlight reveals new development on Nama

Frank Cushnahan
BBC

The latest development in the £1bn Nama deal controversy was revealed in last night's BBC NI Spotlight programme.

Businessman Frank Cushnahan was recorded accepting a £40,000 cash payment from a Nama borrower.  

The recording was made in 2012, at a time when Mr Cushnahan was still working as an adviser to Nama.    

Committee considers McKay allegations

Background to the hearing

Daithí McKay
BBC
Daithí McKay resigned as an MLA last month

Today, the committee is considering allegations relating to the former committee chairperson from the previous assembly mandate.

Sinn Féin's Daithí McKay resigned as an MLA last month, following allegations that he "coached" loyalist blogger Jamie Bryson ahead of an appearance at the committee as part of its inquiry into the National Asset Management Agency (Nama).

Good morning

Welcome to Stormont Live's coverage of the Finance Committee at the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The meeting is due to open to the public at 12.30pm.