THE Lord Advocate, Frank Mulholland, has got a nerve suggesting that the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable, may be attempting to interfere with the independent investigation and prosecutorial decision-making by the law officers of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) (“Scots law chief rebukes Cable over RBS legal bid”, 2 May).
All Mr Cable is guilty of is showing civic concern in the delay and apparent lack of interest shown by COPFS in what some might consider a national outrage: the loss of more than £40 billion from Royal Bank of Scotland and the loss of Scotland’s reputation as a prudent financial centre.
COPFS is a master of spin and not slow to set the news agenda, especially when it involves photo opportunities for Mr Mulholland, such as jetting off to Libya to look for more evidence in the Lockerbie bombing case.
Yet in this matter, an outrage that has seen people from John O’Groats to the Borders lose out on their life savings, there seems to be a Scots omerta. I have been interviewed by officers from Police Scotland’s Specialist Crime Division in connection with my complaint about possible fraud at Bank of Scotland and HBOS leading to a loss similar to that at RBS.
At the coming HBOS annual general meeting, I will also be asking the board to safeguard records of all past transactions by directors and to follow my example in inviting Police Scotland to investigate staff at Bank of Scotland/HBOS over what I believe amounts to criminal conduct.
If in time I see no visible evidence of progress in either complaint, then like Vince Cable I will be writing to the Advocate General, or anyone else who might help expedite the investigation into the outrage that has traduced Scotland’s reputation in the eyes of the world to that of a corrupt, banana republic.
ONE might have thought that Vince Cable could have many preoccupying concerns in what seems to be his quest to prosecute those responsible for banking failures, without him having to be so apparently brusque and a bit off-target in aiming at the two biggest Scotland-based banks, RBS and HBOS (Perspective, 2 May).
Maybe Mr Cable finds it more comfortable to confine his bold approach to banks in Scotland rather than focus similarly on the likes of Northern Rock and the Libor (London Interbank Offered Rate), or indeed on predecessor British government ministers who, some might say, facilitated the banking industry’s speculative misadventures.
Or is the motive in Mr Cable’s missive to his fellow Liberal Democrat lawman north of the Border, Lord Wallace, a sly attempt to wobble the political structure in these parts? Since he is himself based in London, maybe he should first try to clear out his own backyard.
BILL Jamieson (Perspective, 2 May) writes about Vince Cable’s apparently misguided letter to Lord Wallace of Tankerness, Advocate General, regarding the Scottish Crown Office’s feet dragging over Fred Goodwin, his colleagues and others associated with HBOS.
While I have no great issue with the tenor of his article, I wish to raise some points. Mr Jamieson asks how far the net should be thrown, particularly in the case of RBS. As far as I am concerned, police investigations should involve all levels of management within RBS and, where culpable, prosecutions should follow.
Mr Jamieson also poses questions about public sector and governmental failings.
He asks what should be done about waste and mismanagement, such as hospital failings and information technology contracts that go badly wrong.
I wish to add to the mix Ministry of Defence procurements that cost the taxpayer hundreds of millions of pounds in wasted money. Everyone involved, who costs the taxpayers dear, should be rooted out, sacked and where appropriate, charged.
For far too long, incompetent officials have been getting away it. And yes, when Cabinet ministers fail to deliver on a stated policy, they too should be kicked out.
BILL Jamieson (Perspective, 2 May) rightly emphasises the importance of “confidence” in the “regulation and governance of Scottish institutions”.
Arguably public confidence or “trust” in key institutions, like banking, depends also on the morality of rule following.
Take for example a bank’s rule: on the day of maturity savers can access their ISAs.
Not so, says one bank as the day of maturity only comes into effect at midnight, so access is the next day.
Can public trust in banking be restored as long as this idiosyncratic interpretation of rules persists?
There was a time in banking and finance when “my word is my bond” was sovereign.
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