Joint Committee on The Draft Corruption Bill Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witness (Questions 220-225)


20 MAY 2003

  Q220  Mr Shepherd: Barnum and Bailey's with a small West Midlands engineering company?

  Mr McKittrick: We are all the same. I do not think it should be any different whether it is selling Tomahawk fighters, selling a little bit of consultancy or selling whatever. If there are going to be rules, there should be rules. As soon as you open these rules out you open them up to people finding ways around them. I would not, I tend to lead a pretty straight life.

  Q221  Baroness Whitaker: I am not sure that we have covered the case of subsidiaries. I just wondered if you thought that British firms should take responsibility for the actions in respect of corruption by companies which are their subsidiaries overseas?

  Mr McKittrick: Without a doubt it should be the holding company that takes ultimate responsibility. I have got to give parent company guarantees as the holding company of my subsidiaries, hence if corruption is happening in the subsidiary the holding company should not be able to walk away from it.

  Q222  Baroness Whitaker: Should you be able to walk away? Are you responsible?

  Mr McKittrick: If I am a director of a subsidiary and also a director of a holding company, I have got to take responsibility.

  Q223  Baroness Whitaker: Yes. Joint ventures also?

  Mr McKittrick: It depends whether they are jointly and severally bound. A joint venture is a very difficult phrase in our industry. People use "joint venture" loosely, they use "in association with" loosely. You need to go behind the fabric and see if there is a legal joint venture, a legal company.

  Q224  Baroness Whitaker: So it is the degree of association that would confer the degree of responsibility?

  Mr McKittrick: Correct.

  Q225  Chairman: Is there anything that you would like to add or anything that we have not covered or anything you have not covered?

  Mr McKittrick: I do not think so, I think we have covered a fair amount. Whether it has been of any use to you or not, I am not sure.

  Chairman: Nobody will say that your paper was not clear or over-complex, it was extremely straightforward and clear. You made it very apparent which clauses you think would work and which would not. We are very grateful to you for coming. Thank you.

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