Pollution inspector's interests questioned

Click to follow
Indy Politics
A MINISTER'S statement that the Chief Inspector of Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Pollution had, on appointment, 'divested himself of all interests' in an environmental consultancy, was challenged in a Commons motion yesterday, writes Anthony Bevins.

On Wednesday, Michael Howard, Secretary of State for the Environment, told Simon Hughes, the Liberal Democrat MP, that David Slater had disclosed his interests in the consultancy, Technica Ltd, when he applied for the HMIP post early in 1991.

Dr Slater got the job and cut all links with the company on 27 March 1991.

But yesterday in a Commons motion urging the Prime Minister to set up a compulsory public register of interests for senior civil servants, Mr Hughes noted 'a discrepancy' between Mr Howard's answer 'and Technica Ltd's share register return submitted to Companies House and dated 31 March 1992'. He said that it recorded 'among the issued share capital 'at the date of this return' 5,100 ordinary shares in the name of David Slater'.

The motion asked Mr Howard to investigate and clarify whether his use of 'interests' applied to Dr Slater's shareholding as well as to his directorship.

Mr Hughes has also criticised the fact that three months after Dr Slater's appointment last year, the department awarded DNV Technica a contract 'which was not let by competitive tender'.

Mr Howard has said that Technica had been bought out by a company called DNV 'and reconstituted as a wholly-owned subsidiary, DNV Technica'.