Outlook: The purpose of DTI investigations
Thursday 27 November 1997
It is not entirely the DTI's fault that it has taken so long to make this report public. The criminal trials associated with the Guinness scandal were a real impediment to earlier publication, although it ought to pointed out that the last of these, the trial of Thomas Ward, the American lawyer caught up in the affair, ended more than four and a half years ago. Legal objections from participants in the affair have kept the report under wraps since then.
Even so, the public has every reason to wonder what the purpose is of these highly expensive exercises if they are to be published so long after all the lessons of the scandal have been learnt and acted upon. The original idea of having Companies Act investigations was so that the authorities could conduct a post mortem on a big business or financial scandal, take whatever regulatory action seemed necessary, learn its lessons and make appropriate changes in the law. A further purpose was to warn interested parties about those named and shamed.
By all accounts, this report makes fascinating reading and it still has the capacity to embarrass a number of people occupying high powered positions in the City and elsewhere. But all the other purposes have long since been and gone. The law has been tightened, the City cleaned up and the main protagonists punished. As such the Guinness report is just an interesting piece of flotsam and jetsam from the mists of time. This is an eloquent chronicle of the corrupt and semi-fraudulent practices that were allowed to flourish in the City in the mid-1980s, but is the writing up of history really such a good use of the pounds 5m of public money this report is reputed to have cost?
Here's the rub, for the Companies Act objective of DTI investigations was never the real purpose of the Guinness inquiry. The main job of the Guinness inspectors became not that of conducting a post mortem, but the collecting of evidence against the chief players so that the Serious Fraud Office could then prosecute them. This use of the DTI's powers of compulsion is now rightly regarded as an infringement of human rights and it has not been repeated since. This report closes the book on a piece of history in more ways than one.
- 1 Howard Jacobson: Let's see the 'criticism' of Israel for what it really is
- 2 Instagram of US airport security chiefs: Lipstick knives and IED training kits among items seized
- 4 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories
Vanessa Feltz criticises 'vile' reaction to Rolf Harris allegations
iJobs Money & Business
£60000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...
£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider in investment managemen...
£600 - £700 per day: Harrington Starr: AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer JVS, ...
£30000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A global leader in trading platforms and e...