Note of interview with Mrs Shirley Caddock
by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards
held on 27 March 2001
I explained to Mrs Caddock that I was investigating
complaints that the Standards and Privileges Committee and my
predecessor had been misled during an earlier inquiry into payments
to Mr Geoffrey Robinson M.P. I said that I was trying to establish
the facts and to hear directly from her, her recollection of some
events. I provided Mrs Caddock with a copy of the leaflet "How
to make a complaint against a Member of Parliament" so that
she had information about the complaints procedure. I told Mrs
Caddock that I would make a note of her answers and send them
to her in draft so that she could correct them. I asked Mrs Caddock
the following questions and record her replies:
1. What were your responsibilities as Mr
Stoney's secretary, particularly regarding financial matters?
A: Mr Stoney was group finance director for
Hollis PLC. Hollis PLC was the group which included Hollis Industries
and Hollis Financial Services. Mr Stoney produced the management
accounts for the whole group and I typed letters, memo's, reports
for Mr Stoney and dealt with his personal matters as required.
There was a team of accountants responsible for drawing up the
management accounts and the finances.
2. How well did you know Mr Robinson?
A: I knew him fairly well. I saw him quite often.
We were on Christian name terms. Mr Robinson had been with the
company for a couple of years at that time. I saw him perhaps
once a month.
3. How often did you speak to Mr Robinson
on the telephone?
A: Not every day. We would have irregular telephone
contact. But I knew his voice well and I would recognise him when
he would say "It's Geoffrey".
4. What is your recollection of the telephone
call alleged to have been made to you by Mr Robinson around December
1990 concerning a payment of £200,000 for management services
for Hollis Industries?
A: I do recall the telephone call, but not word
for word as it was a long time ago.
Were you aware that the cheque for £200,000
was originally to have been made payable to Transtec?
A: I couldn't say whether I was aware that the
payment was originally to be made to Transtec.
What did Mr Robinson say as his reason
for wanting the cheque to be payable to another company?
A: I am afraid I can't remember word for word
but he did ask for the cheque to be made payable to him. Looking
at what I wrote, it must have been to him personally. If he had
asked for it to be made payable to a company, that's what I would
5. Can you confirm that the note in the
bottom left-hand corner of the invoice from Mr Robinson, dated
24 October 1990, is in your handwriting?
6. How soon after the telephone call from
Mr Robinson did you make that handwritten note?
A: Immediately afterwards.
7. Can you explain precisely what the note
meant and what action was intended to follow?
A: The note was a note to Michael (Stoney) for
accounts to pay the invoice.
Did you understand that the reason for
this request was that the company for whom it was to be paid,
was not registered for VAT?
A: I was told this by Mr Robinson.
What did you assume was the company
A: I assumed that Orchards, at the top of the
invoice, was the company.
8. If Mr Robinson had nominated a company
other than Transtec as payee, why would you have used the word
"personally", with no reference to the company?
A: Because he asked that the payment should
be made to him personally and not to any company.
9. Do you know what steps were taken to
put Mr Robinson's request into effect?
A: No, I can't say. I followed the usual practice
and gave it to Michael Stoney and I assumed he followed the usual
practice which was to give it to Kevin (Maxwell) to authorise
10. Did you discuss the arrangements for making
the payment, including the new payee account, with anyone else?
11. Were you aware of an account called "Orchards"
and, if so, what its relationship was with Mr Robinson?
A: No, but I probably assumed it was one of
Mr Robinson's companies because he had a number. But I just did
what I was told.
12. Have you spoken to anyone about this matter
within the last few years (including Mr Robinson himself, the
journalist Tom Bower, or the DTI inspector, Mr Aldous?)
A: I spoke to Mr Robinson once when it was first
What did he ask you?
A: He asked whether I remembered the invoice
and whether I remembered it should go to a different company.
I told him I couldn't recollect whether it should go to a different
company, but I remembered the invoice.
I also spoke to Mr Bower about two months ago. He
asked me whether I remembered the invoice or that the cheque should
be changed to be paid to some other body. I told him that I only
remembered the one instruction to pay it personally to Mr Robinson
I did not remember hearing of any other change.
I also saw someone from the SFO after Mr Maxwell
died, but I can't remember who it was.
13. On the basis of what you knew in 1990, as
well as the information which has become public since then, is
it your belief that Mr Robinson benefited personally from the
£200,000 payment, either directly or through a company other
than Transtec which he controlled?
A: I can't really say. I only know that he told
me it should be paid to him personally and that's what I wrote
on the invoice. It could have been changed afterwards without
my knowing. I can't say as things changed so quickly at that time.
27 March 2001