§ MR. ALDEN (Middlesex, Tottonham)
I beg to ask the Prime Minister what action, if any, His Majesty's Government propose to take with regard to the statements made by the Public Accounts Committee, and especially with regard to the case of the intelligence officer, Mr. Noreen, who defrauded the War Office by sending in a double claim for capturing cattle; and what action they propose to take with respect to Colonel Rickman, who certified the claim.
§ MR. HALDANE
The Reports of the Public Accounts Committee are now under consideration in the various public Departments concerned, and in each case such action as may be necessary will be taken in accordance with the invariable rule. I am investigating the circumstances under which the payments to Mr. Noreen wore made. As will be seen from the correspondence printed in the appendix to the Appropriation Account for 1904–05, the case is by no means free from difficulty and even doubt. If, however, after weighing all the facts it appears to me that there is a reasonable prospect of legal proceedings producing any more satisfactory result than further considerable expenditure of public money I shall direct the military authorities in† See (4) Debates, clxv., 1228–30.578 South Africa to take such action as the legal advisers of the Colonial Government may advise.
§ MR. HALDANE
I have looked into the circumstances, and it is extremely difficult to tell whether he was justified or whether he was not. I am getting all the information I can with a view to placing it before the legal advisers in South Africa. I will tell my hon. friend privately the circumstances so far as I know thorn at the present time.