Comptroller and Auditor General and Committees of Houses of the Oireachtas (Special Provisions Act), 1998: Motion

Thursday, 17 December 1998

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 498 No. 6

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Minister for Finance (Mr. McCreevy): Information on Charlie McCreevy Zoom on Charlie McCreevy I move:

That Dáil Éireann, having been apprised of prima facie evidence of a substantial risk to the revenues of the State by means of the Interim Reports of the Committee of Public Accounts on the Appropriation Accounts 1997, resolves that:

A. under section 2(1) of the Comptroller and Auditor General and Committees of the Houses of the Oireachtas (Special Provisions), Act, 1998 ('the Special Provisions Act'), and in exercise of the powers [1419] conferred by that Act, the Comptroller and Auditor General ('the Comptroller') be requested to:

(1) carry out such examinations and investigations as he considers appropriate of the affairs and the books of account and other records in any form and other documents in respect of the period 1 January 1986 to 1 December 1998 of financial institutions as defined in Section 1 of the Special Provisions Act, being institutions that were required by Chapter IV of Part 1 of the Finance Act, 1986, and Chapter 4 of Part 8 of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997, to deduct amounts representing income tax from payments of amounts in respect of interest made by them during the period aforesaid on certain deposits of money with them and to pay the amounts representing income tax to the Collector-General and to make returns to the Collector-General of the amounts aforesaid of interest and the amounts aforesaid representing income tax and were required by section 175 of the Income Tax Act, 1967, and section 891 of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997, to make certain other returns to an inspector of taxes in respect of interest payable by them without deduction of income tax,

(2) carry out such examinations under section 3(7) of the Comptroller and Auditor General (Amendment) Act, 1993, and such other examinations and investigations as he considers appropriate,

(3) if the Comptroller considers it necessary to do so for the purpose of the performance of his or her functions under the Special Provisions Act, appoint an auditor to carry out on his behalf and subject to his control and supervision and upon and subject to such other terms and conditions (if any) as the Comptroller may determine or the High Court may specify under section 14 of the Special Provisions Act such examinations and investigations as the auditor considers appropriate, for the purpose of enabling the Comptroller to perform his functions under the Special Provisions Act, of accounts or deposits held in the financial institutions aforesaid during the period specified above, and of the affairs and the books of account and other records in any form and other documents of those institutions in respect of that period in so far as they relate to such accounts and deposits; and the auditor so appointed shall carry out the examinations and investigations aforesaid, and

(4) examine any report under section 2(2) of the Special Provisions Act furnished to him by an auditor appointed under section 2(1) of that Act and, if he considers it appropriate to do so, discuss the report with the auditor and question him in relation to any particular matter in, or arising in connection [1420] with, the report, or in relation to the report generally, in order—

(i) to ascertain—

(I) whether the books of account, records and documents aforesaid are complete and accurate in so far as they relate to the deposits, the interest, and the amounts representing income tax, aforesaid and whether those of them that may be inspected by an inspector of taxes provide for him a full and true picture of the extent of those institutions' compliance with Chapter IV of Part 1 of the Finance Act, 1986 and Chapter 4 of Part 8 of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997, and the said sections 175 and 891 in respect of the deposits, the interest, the amounts representing income tax, and the returns, aforesaid,

(II) whether the Revenue Commissioners have taken appropriate steps to satisfy themselves as to whether those institutions have complied with the said Chapter IV, the said Chapter 4 and the said sections 175 and 891 in respect of the deposits, the interest, the accounts representing income tax, and the returns, aforesaid,

(III) whether those institutions have complied with any other relevant provisions of the Tax Acts (within the meaning of the Corporation Tax Act, 1978, and the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997) in respect of the matters aforesaid, and

(IV) if there is a shortfall in the amount paid by those institutions under the said Chapter IV and the said Chapter 4 in respect of the said amounts representing income tax, the reasons for and the circumstances of the shortfall,

(ii) ascertain whether systems, procedures and practices have been established that are adequate to secure an effective check on the assessment and collection and proper allocation of the amounts aforesaid representing income tax by the Revenue Commissioners and its payment by the financial institutions, aforesaid, to the Revenue Commissioners, and

(iii) to satisfy himself as to whether the manner in which the systems, procedures and practices aforesaid have been employed and applied in relation to such interest and amounts representing income tax is adequate,

(5) ascertain the information known or which might reasonably be expected to have been known or available to the financial institutions, aforesaid, the Revenue Commissioners, [1421] the Department of Finance and the Central Bank of Ireland concerning the practice of using bogus non-residential accounts for the purpose of evading Deposit Interest Retention Tax (that is to say the amounts presenting income tax referred to above), and the use made thereof,

(6) ensure that any report furnished by him pursuant to the Special Provisions Act

(a) sets out such facts and evidence as he deems appropriate; and

(b) facilitates the efficient, effective and expeditious completion of the hearings by the Committee of Public Accounts as defined in the Special Provisions Act into the matters aforesaid.

B. the Comptroller should, at his discretion, determine the order and manner in which his examinations and investigations of the financial institutions and the other matters aforesaid, will be carried out;

C. the Comptroller should perform his functions under the Special Provisions Act and this Resolution in as economical and expeditious a manner as is consistent with fairness;

D. the Comptroller should be facilitated in every way possible by Dáil Éireann so as to enable the examinations and investigations aforesaid to be completed at the earliest possible times;

E. the Clerk of Dáil Éireann should, as soon as is practicable after the receipt by him of any such report aforesaid, of the Comptroller, lay it before Dáil Éireann; and

F. the Committee of Public Accounts, following its examination of any such report as aforesaid, of the Comptroller, should determine how to proceed thereon, consider the matters referred to in any such report and, if it considers it necessary to do so, hear further evidence in accordance with the provisions of the Committees of the Houses of the Oireachtas (Compellability, Privileges and Immunities of Witnesses) Act, 1997, and the Special Provisions Act, and make a report or reports to Dáil Éireann and should include in any one or more of those reports its findings and conclusions, and its recommendations, if any.”

Question put and agreed to.


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