The Irish public were “maybe defrauded”, RTÉ’s Chief Financial Officer has told the Oireachtas.
Richard Collins testified at the Public Accounts Committee’s hearing into the broadcaster’s hidden payments to Ryan Tubridy and was questioned by Fine Gael’s Alan Dillon.
“[What is] raising invoices for something knowing that it’s not what it is?” Deputy Dillon asked Mr Collins.
“Well, it’s concealment and deception,” he replied.
“Would you not determine that to be fraud, wrongfully known?” Deputy Dillon asked.
“It depends who the fraud is against,” Mr Collins said.
“If anyone has lost out; my own opinion is, maybe the taxpayer was defrauded.”
Also testifying was RTÉ Chair Siún Ní Raghallaigh, who described the controversy as “truly shocking”.
“As a trained accountant and a former financial controller, I am appalled as to how payments were recorded and presented in the RTÉ accounts,” Ms Ní Raghallaigh said in her opening statement.
“What was the motivation here? It appears to me that this was an act designed to deceive.
“The forthcoming external government review will look at matters of culture and governance.”
'Their side of the story'
Neither former Director General Dee Forbes or presenter Ryan Tubridy have appeared before the committee - something Taoiseach Leo Varadkar thinks should change.
“They may have a story to tell and I think it is right that they should be allowed to tell their side of the story,” he said.
“The fact that they wouldn’t or would refuse to would be a matter of more concern to me.”
Ms Forbes was invited to appear before the committee but declined on health grounds.
Main image: Richard Collins. Picture by: RollingNews.ie