A lawyer representing Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has accused the Mahon Tribunal of allowing itself to be used for a malicious campaign against the Taoiseach.

Conor Maguire SC said the tribunal had run the risk of interfering with the democratic process by circulating allegations against Mr Ahern prior to the General Election.

Mr Maguire said the tribunal appeared to give preferential treatment to developer Tom Gilmartin, who he described as a malevolent and mendacious witness whose credibility was already in shreds.

Mr Gilmartin has alleged he was told by another developer, Owen O'Callaghan, that Mr Ahern received £30,000 in the early 90s to block a tax incentive for a rival shopping centre development.

Both Mr Ahern and Mr O'Callaghan deny this.

The tribunal chairman, Judge Alan Mahon, said he and the other two judges will consider giving a reply tomorrow because the severity of Mr Maguire's allegations.

Account 'discrepancies'

Earlier, a barrister for the tribunal said he has uncovered discrepancies in the account given by Mr Ahern concerning lodgements totalling over £100,000 pounds received in the 1990s.

The inquiry heard that one lodgement could not have been the result of a £30,000 sterling lodgement as claimed by Mr Ahern.

Bertie Ahern said the money lodged to the account of Celia Larkin in December 1994 came from £30,000 sterling in cash given to him by Manchester businessman Michael Wall.

He said it was for structural work on the house in Drumcondra he was then renting from Mr Wall.

But Des O'Neill, SC for the inquiry, said today that the £28,777 lodged did not equate with the sterling exchange rate and that bank records showed there were no such sterling transactions that day.

There were however transactions in other currencies that day which would equate a payment of $45,000 dollars.

Another transaction said to have been a re-lodgement of savings by Mr Ahern was now discovered to have been the result of a sterling transaction. While another lodgement did not back up Mr Ahern's claim that he received £8,000 sterling from Manchester businessman.

Mr O'Neill also said there is very little documentary evidence to support Mr Ahern's about the source of the five lodgements totalling over £116,000.

The Mahon Tribunal resumed today with the opening of the Quarryvale module after it was postponed for the duration of the General Election campaign.