Written Answers. - Departmental Inquiries.

Seymour Crawford

Question:

49 Mr. Crawford asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment when she expects to have completed the various inquiries and inspections under way in her Department; and if she will provide an update on these issues. [6981/01]

Michael Bell

Question:

66 Mr. Bell asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the position in regard to each of the inquiries being carried out by or on behalf of her Department; if she will give a projected date for the conclusion of each such investigation; the inquiries in respect of which reports have been referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7096/01]

Donal Carey

Question:

76 Mr. D. Carey asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the position regarding examinations under section 19 of the Companies Act, 1990, under way at her Department; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6982/01]

P. J. Sheehan

Question:

102 Mr. Sheehan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if aspects of the investigations and inquiries being processed by her Department have been referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6984/01]

I propose to take Question Nos. 49, 66, 76 and 102 together.

Five examinations of company books and documents are ongoing under section 19 of the Companies Act, 1990. The companies involved are Celtic Helicopters Limited, College Trustees Limited, Guinness & Mahon (Ireland) Limited, Hamilton Ross Co. Limited, and Kentford Securities Limited. The examinations of Celtic Helicopters Limited and Kentford Securities Limited are well advanced, and I expect to receive final reports on these companies in the coming months. The remaining examinations will take additional time, and I do not yet have a precise forecast of their likely completion dates.

As I have indicated previously, the High Court last July quashed my decision to examine the books and documents of Dunnes Stores Ireland Company and Dunnes Stores (ILAC Centre) Limited. An appeal has been lodged on my behalf with the Supreme Court and will be heard on 2 July, 2001.

Three High Court inquiries are also being undertaken into Ansbacher (Cayman) Limited, National Irish Bank Limited – NIB – and National Irish Bank Financial Services Limited. The two NIB-related inquiries are anticipated to conclude in a few months.

On 12 March last, the inspectors to Ansbacher (Cayman) Limited were granted an order by the High Court which gives them leave to serve a notice of motion out of the jurisdiction upon Ansbacher (Cayman) Limited. The motion, which has a return date of 30 April, seeks an order compelling Ansbacher to deliver certain documents to the inspectors pursuant to a requirement made under section 10(6) of the Companies Act, 1990. The application is part of the inspectors' ongoing investigation and arises because the company failed to authorise any person resident in the State to accept proceedings on its behalf.

At a private hearing before the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands on 9 April next, Ansbacher (Cayman) Limited is scheduled to seek permission to release certain documents to the inspectors to assist their inquiry. It is unclear at this stage what the response of the court will be to this request. Regardless of the outcome, it is hoped that the Ansbacher inquiry can be completed this year.

A total of six investigations have been completed to date. These related to National Irish Bank Financial Services Limited under section 59 of the Insurance Act, 1989, Bula Resources (Holdings) plc under section 14 of the Companies Act, 1990, Ansbacher (Cayman) Limited, Faxhill Homes Limited, Garuda Limited – trading as Streamline Enterprises and IIB Bank Limited – the latter four under section 19 of the 1990 Act.
The reports on Bula Resources (Holdings) plc, Garuda Limited and National Irish Bank Financial Services Limited are with the Director of Public Prosecutions for consideration. I am not aware of any prosecutions having yet been initiated by the DPP on foot of these reports.
The report into Faxhill Homes Limited was also initially referred to the DPP but was subsequently returned to my Department. A total of 29 summonses have since been issued on behalf of my Department against Faxhill Homes Limited and its directors in respect of various suspected breaches of the Companies Acts. The defendants have pleaded guilty to three offences under section 91 – register of debenture holders – of the Companies Act, 1963. The case will resume in Naas District Court on 21 May next.
My Department is considering recent legal advice regarding the possible initiation of summary prosecutions for suspected breaches of the Companies Acts identified in the Bula report. I will make a decision on this matter shortly. Enforcement action will also be considered in other appropriate cases in due course.