HC Deb 20 June 1935 vol 303 cc558-9
78. Mr. WILMOT

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he is aware that the decision of the directors of Williams, Henry, and Company, Limited, to liquidate the company by way of a members' voluntary winding-up will greatly hamper the official receiver in elucidating the transactions in pepper, shelac, tin, and other commodities carried out through the company by James and Shakspeare, Limited; and whether, in view of the promise given that no effort would be spared in endeavouring to bring those responsible for the losses suffered by innocent people to justice, he will instruct the official receiver to proceed under Section 276 of the Companies Act, or otherwise?


The liquidation of Williams, Henry, and Company, Limited, is a creditors' and not a members' voluntary winding-up. The arrangements made in connection with the liquidation have, in fact, facilitated the official receiver's investigations into the affairs of James and Shakspeare, Limited, as the same person has been appointed as liquidator of both companies. The question whether any proceedings in this case for the recovery of assets should be brought under Section 276 of the Companies Act, 1929, is one for the liquidator or any creditor or contributory, but the official receiver and the liquidator are working in close collaboration.


While thanking the right hon. Gentleman for his reply, may I ask whether he is aware that there is considerable public anxiety lest the voluntary winding-up of this company should throw a cloak of secrecy over the major operations of James and Shakspeare, Limited, and can he give some assurance that that will not be the case in view of the powers with which he is armed and the official receiver is armed under the Companies Act?


I hope that the apprehensions of the hon. Member will not be realised.