§ MR. HOWELL (Bethnal Green, N.E.)
asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether it is true that serious defalcations have been discovered in the accounts of the Sevenoaks Trustee Savings Bank; whether the late treasurer, having committed suicide, led to the discovery, and whether any officials of the bank have been arrested in connection with the defalcations; whether the Savings Banks Returns presented to this House have, for the last four years, included in the assets of the Sevenoaks Bank the sum of £145 5s. 2d. stated to be due from the estate of the late treasurer's predecessor; and, whether the Government will, in accordance with the provisions of the Trustee Savings Bank Act of 1887, obtain the appointment of a Commissioner to inquire into the case of the Sevenoaks Bank?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. GOSCHEN) (St. George's, Hanover Square)
In reply to the hon. Member, I have to say that the Commissioners for the Reduction of the National Debt have just received from the Trustees of the Sevenoaks Savings Bank official notice that the actuary and secretary has committed a serious defalcation and misappropriation of the bank's funds, to the extent, it is thought, of about £1,630, extending over a series of years. The Commissioners are further informed that the Trustees and Managers have passed a Resolution expressing their intention to hold themselves jointly responsible for any deficiency to the depositors. I have no knowledge as to the late treasurer having committed suicide, nor as to any arrests of officials of the bank having been made. My answer to the hon. Member's third Question is in the affirmative, so far as it relates to the accounts hitherto presented to Parliament. As regards his fourth Question, it would, of course, be premature for me to make any declaration before I have the facts more fully before me; but I can assure the hon. Member that I have every desire to exercise the valuable powers given by the Act of last year where the circumstances seem to warrant my doing so.
§ MR. HOWELL
asked, whether the right hon. Gentleman was aware that the auditor who passed the accounts of the Sevenoaks Trustee Bank was, according to the Returns which had been presented to the House, the auditor of 13 other Trustee Banks in various parts of the country, and also the actuary of a London savings bank?
§ MR. GOSCHEN
I am not aware of the fact. The hon. Member may feel perfectly certain that the circumstances shall be investigated to the very bottom, and every necessary action shall be taken.