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Company Investigation

Volume 931: debated on Wednesday 4 May 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade what steps he takes to investigate the suitability of potential appointees as inspectors to investigate the affairs of companies; and if he will publish details of their remuneration and terms of service.

Accountant inspectors are appointed after consideration as to their suitability for the particular case and, if necessary, after consultation with their professional body. In the case of legal inspectors, who are either members of the Bar or solicitors, it is the usual practice to make appointments after consultation with my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General. Remuneration is negotiated with the accountant inspectors individually, taking into account the complexity of the investigation and the status of the supporting staff required. Similarly, the remuneration of legal inspectors has regard to their experience and standing. Inspectors who are departmental employees receive no additional remuneration. The terms of service of all inspectors are to investigate the affairs of specified companies and to report thereon in such manner as the Secretary of State may direct.

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will provide particulars of the costs incurred in the company investigations completed since the beginning of 1975; and what costs have been incurred to date in the course of the investigation into Dowgate and CST.

Costs so far of the 12 company investigations completed by outside inspectors since January 1975 total about £926,000. Apart from inquiries carried out under Section 109 of the Companies Act 1967 a further 12 investigations were completed in the same period by officers in the Department, but particulars of the costs involved cannot be provided without undue expense. Costs to date on the investigation into Dowgate and General Investments Ltd. and CST Investments Ltd. amount to some £102,000.