Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Fifth Report

Annex vii12

Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards from Mr Arif Husain, General Mediterranean Holding (UK) Ltd

I refer to your letter of 5 November 2001.

I am unable to comment on the veracity or the accuracy of the information given to you by third parties. You refer to the commemorative brochure of General Mediterranean Holding, which was issued to mark its 20th anniversary. It is not a report. You are right that it lists the name of Mr Vaz as a director of General Mediterranean Holding (UK) Ltd. The reference to Cipaf or any other group company is not relevant as these are totally separate entities with their own Boards of Directors and operational executives. The date the brochure went to print was 13 April 1999, after Mr Vaz agreed that his name could be included as a director of General Mediterranean Holding (UK) Ltd.

We would point out to you that General Mediterranean Holding SA prints its consolidated annual report voluntarily and not as a statutory requirement. The layout of the accounts in skeleton form is usually set up as and when the information becomes available. The go-ahead for the final print is only given after the accountants have signed off their report. The accountants's signing off date for 1998 was 1 July 1999 and as you will notice from their report on page 6, they only comment on pages 7 to 21. Any information before or after these pages is outside the scope of their report. Mr Vaz's name on page 24 would seem to be an oversight resulting from the aforementioned skeleton layout of the 1998 report.

Finally, the matter seems to be taking up a disproportionate amount of time and we hope that the above information has finally dealt with all your questions.

6 November 2001

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