NAMA Chairman Frank Daly has defended procedures governing the purchase of NAMA properties by agency employees.

The current rules only allow the purchase of a principal primary residence, with prior approval of NAMA management.

In addition, it can only happen where the property has been openly marketed.

He said it was felt that, with these restrictions in place, the policy is a proportionate response to the issue.

Mr Daly said that NAMA controls around 13,000 residential properties.

He said that 168 debtors being monitored by the agency are receiving salaries totalling €15.5m.

The total value of those debtors' debts is €61bn, and the total overhead and receiver costs amounted to €215m to date.

The chairman said the vast bulk of debtors - 112 out of 168 - continuing to run businesses were receiving salaries of between nothing and €50,000.

He said it could not be said that they were funding extraordinary lifestyles.

NAMA's rationale, its chairman claimed, was that it could be the best commercial decision for NAMA and the taxpayer, if those developers were prepared to work with the agency.

Mr Daly had been asked by Fianna Fáil Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath whether NAMA was paying for personal drivers and personal security.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty accused NAMA of writing down debts for developers at a time when ordinary people, who did not cause problems for the country, cannot get leeway.

He said NAMA was selling loans to third parties, effectively crystallising a loss which amounts to a writedown.

Mr Daly said they had to realise the value of a portfolio, and, in some cases, they were never going to get the difference back.

Asked how long they would pursue personal guarantees, Mr Daly said it was NAMA's policy to pursue personal guarantees to the fullest extent possible.

He said they had received €500m in assets back from people who realised that the only way to survive was to hand assets over.

The chairman said if they suspected there were more assets, they would do asset searches and pursue them through the courts.