Bruton accused of ignoring tax allegation evidence
Civil servant alleges ‘interference with administration of justice’
Minister for Jobs and Enterprise Richard Bruton has been accused of “interference with the administration of justice” by the civil servant in his department who sent a highly controversial dossier on tax evasion to the Dáil Public Accounts Committee.
The civil servant, Gerry Ryan, maintained that Mr Bruton had not forwarded a witness statement sought by gardaí, and which was first given to the Minister almost two years ago, in December 2012.
Mr Ryan also maintained Mr Bruton failed to acknowledge two emails sent to him in March 2011 as well as a registered letter sent to his home in Dublin later that month in which he requested a short meeting to deliver a briefing note and background information regarding his claims about tax evasion involving senior politicians.
“In my view all of this demonstrates a total lack of support on your part for the prosecution of the alleged wrongdoing referred to above and the publication of evidence relating to that possible wrongdoing”, Mr Ryan said in a letter sent to Mr Bruton in October last year.
He also accused Mr Bruton of “ignoring” evidence of alleged wrongdoing and recommendations that further investigations into the alleged tax evasion be undertaken.
At the weekend Mr Bruton and Taoiseach Enda Kenny said any delays in dealing with such documentation were caused by staff retirements and pressure of work.
Mr Bruton said that the witness statement would be sent to the relevant authorities “very shortly” . In a statement on Saturday. he said: “I understand the concerns the public has about tax evasion, and it is important to reassure people that all allegations in this regard have been examined by the relevant authorities.”
In the documentation sent to the committee, Mr Ryan said he had been asked by the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation (GBFI) to prepare a witness statement on a possible prosecution in relation to the tax evasion allegations.
He said the witness statement was submitted to Mr Bruton, through an assistant secretary in the department in December 2012, for him to approve disclosure to the gardaí in line with company law. He said the statement had been read and approved for release by a senior counsel.
Mr Ryan said the statement contained substantial evidence supporting allegations of a conspiracy between a named individual and other persons to defraud the Revenue Commissioners.
“It is my view that the failure to forward the witness statement to the GBFI in an interference with the administration of justice, to which I do not wish to be a party.”
In response, Mr Bruton’s spokesman last night said “bodies like the Revenue Commissioners, the ODCE [Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement], the gardaí and the DPP are independent precisely to ensure that politicians are kept out of investigating issues like tax evasion. It would be extremely unwise for any Minister or politician to get involved or interfere in any way with investigations by these bodies, and Minister Bruton has been careful to avoid that throughout this process”.
Mr Ryan says he was “asked to terminate my investigations” by Mary Harney in June 2004 while they were “ongoing and before they were complete”. Ms Harney last night said she had nothing to add to a Dáil statement in 2005 when she said: “I felt that it was time to bring those investigations to a conclusion seven years on. I was under the impression they would have concluded much earlier.”