HC Deb 12 February 1959 vol 599 cc1345-6
31. Mr. Thornton

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will give the reasons for the closing of the Mountain Lead Mines in Hong Kong; and what are the prospects of these mines being reopened.

Mr. J. Amery

No mine was ever opened but prospecting and mining licences held by Mountain Lead Mines Limited from 1956 to 1957 were not renewed.

Mr. Thornton

I appreciate the Secretary of State's patience and courtesy in the long correspondence that I have had with him on this matter, but is not the hon. Member satisfied that there are some disquieting features about the closing of this mine? Is not he satisfied that there is a case for an independent inquiry? Is not it a matter for disquiet when the shareholder whose report of the existence of bribery and corruption results in the imprisonment of a leading Government official is the subject of very severe financial loss? Is not this the way to encourage rather than to suppress bribery and corruption?

Mr. Amery

No, we have investigated the question extremely carefully. The officer who was reported as having indulged in corrupt practices was charged, tried and punished. I do not think there is any more than can be done.

Mr. Thornton

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the Answer to this very serious Question, I propose to take steps to raise this matter on the Adjournment as early as possible.

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