In a Commons written reply, he told Simon Hughes, Liberal Democrat MP for Southwark and Bermondsey, that David Slater had fully disclosed his interests in Technica Ltd, of which he was a full-time director, when he applied for the chief inspector's post early last year.
Mr Howard said: 'He made clear in the course of the recruitment process that if he was successful he would sever all connection with Technica Ltd immediately.
'As soon as he was declared successful he accordingly divested himself of all interests in Technica Ltd on 27 March 1991, before taking up his appointment as chief inspector on 1 May 1991.'
In a Commons motion tabled on Tuesday night, Mr Hughes voiced concern about civil servants' shareholdings, and noted that 'three months after Dr Slater's appointment, DNV Technica was awarded a lucrative contract to advise the Department of the Environment, which was not let by competitive tender'.
Mr Howard said that following Dr Slater's divestment of interests in Technica, it had been bought by a company called DNV, 'and reconstituted as a wholly-owned subsidiary, DNV Technica.'
The Secretary of State added that the department's August 1991 contract with DNV Technica had nothing to do with HMIP.Reuse content