HC Deb 15 November 1917 vol 99 cc590-1W

asked the Financial Secretary to the War Office whether his attention has been called to paragraph 38 of the Report of the Committee on Public Accounts and to the statement that, under an agreement made by the Egyptian command in January, 1915, retrospective to the beginning of the War, for receiving meat, etc., from this country, whilst the contractor's annual profits before the War averaged £6000 to £19,000 a year, they were for a period of sixteen or eighteen months under the agreement not less than £40,000, and possibly much more; whether the gentleman who made the agreement on behalf of the Government still retains his position; and, if so, why no disciplinary action was taken?


My attention has been called to the paragraph referred to. The agreement was made by the local military authorities in Egypt after reference to, and approval by, the War Office. The terms of the agreement were reasonable at the time when it was made, but owing to the pressure of business in the command the necessity of revising it in view of the altered conditions which subsequently obtained, was lost sight of. The agreement was not made on the responsibility of any one individual, and owing to the pressure of work in Egypt it is to be presumed that the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief did not consider there was a case for disciplinary action.