Select Committee on Public Accounts Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 240-248)



  240. I entirely accept that, but was there anything in your procedures which said you had to have a confidentiality agreement?
  (Lord Cranbrook) No.

  241. So why was it in your interests? You keep telling us that you asked for it as well as him. Why did you ask for a confidentiality agreement?
  (Lord Cranbrook) It is fair that confidentiality agreements have to be binding mutually on both parties.

  242. Of course, but why did you ask for one? If he asks for one and you accept it, then it has to be binding on both parties, but why did you ask for one?
  (Lord Cranbrook) I would have to look at the board minutes to see which way the initiative came from.

  243. You said it was mutual. You have repeated several times that it was mutual.
  (Lord Cranbrook) It was mutual when it was ultimately realised, but I would need to check the written record to see how it arose frankly, when you press me.

Mr Gardiner

  244. With respect, you said that it would be entirely wrong to suggest that the request for it had been initiated by him. That was your response earlier on. I did not write it down, but I remember it very clearly. I am sure the record will show that. Are you saying that what you said to us ten minutes ago may have been incorrect?
  (Lord Cranbrook) Yes, I think so. If that is what I said, that was incorrect.


  245. I think you had better take it away and check your board minutes.
  (Lord Cranbrook) Yes, I need to. It is not a line of questioning I had been briefed to expect, so I need to check the documents.

  246. Would you check that out and come back to us?
  (Lord Cranbrook) Yes.

Mr Gardiner

  247. Are we going to get all the advice which was given by their legal advisers in respect of the confidentiality agreement and the deal that was concluded in writing to this Committee?
  (Lord Cranbrook) I probably need legal advice to know how much—
  (Mr Broadbent) May I make a suggestion? We have taken this very seriously at Customs and looked into it. Perhaps the first step would be for Customs to provide a note based on the material we have and then if that is not sufficient . . . You are shaking your head. I was trying to suggest a way forward.

  Mr Gardiner: With respect, the way forward is for us to have copies of the legal advice which the board took. That is the answer to Mr Trickett's question. We should have the legal advice so that we know on what basis the board took the decision that it did with respect to the package.


  248. You have to take this away and give us the fullest possible note. We shall then have a look at that note and if we are not satisfied with it, we shall come back to you and ask for more information. 9
  (Lord Cranbrook) I am quite content that we leave it there.

  Chairman: Thank you very much. It has been quite a long and difficult session but you have answered our questions very courteously and we have made a lot of progress, particularly in ways in which we can perhaps develop new innovative ways of giving ENTRUST intermediate powers. It has been a very useful session. Thank you very much.9 Ev 26-28, Appendix 2.


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