HC Deb 19 July 1967 vol 750 cc2365-6
Mr. Grant

I beg to move Amendment No. 103, in page 41, line 34, after 'words' to insert: '" wilfully defaces any book or document which it is his duty, under this section so to produce or' The right hon. Gentleman will again be pleased to find that I am seeking to give him more powers. The Clause gives inspectors power to secure the attendance of people at investigations and to compel the production of books or documents which it is the duty of officers of the company to produce. There is no provision, however, to deal with a dishonest officer who wilfully defaces them. I can recall some extraordinary instances, like that of minutes pasted into a minute book which were removed and others substituted, and have known noughts to be added to or taken from figures. Neither action would be an offence. A subtle operator could produce the book or documents which he must, but they could be skilfully defaced or altered. These cases of fraudulent company directors are more common than people imagine, so I offer the right hon. Gentleman additional powers.

Mr. Darling

The hon. Gentleman is right to say that defacing books would not be caught by this Clause, but it would be caught by Clause 109, which makes it an offence to destroy or mutilate a company's books or to be privy to such acts. Proceedings could be taken against anyone who defaced books which had to be produced to inspectors. The Amendment is unnecessary: we could have accepted it, but it would have inserted words which were not required for the hon. Gentleman's purpose.

Amendment negatived.