Friday, 3 May 2013

Cable right to challenge Scots omerta

[This is the headline over a letter from Tom Minogue in today’s edition of The Scotsman.  It reads as follows:]
The Lord Advocate, Frank Mulholland, has got a nerve suggesting that the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable, may be attempting to interfere with the independent investigation and prosecutorial decision-making by the law officers of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) (“Scots law chief rebukes Cable over RBS legal bid”, 2 May).
All Mr Cable is guilty of is showing civic concern in the delay and apparent lack of interest shown by COPFS in what some might consider a national outrage: the loss of more than £40 billion from Royal Bank of Scotland and the loss of Scotland’s reputation as a prudent financial centre.
COPFS is a master of spin and not slow to set the news agenda, especially when it involves photo opportunities for Mr Mulholland, such as jetting off to Libya to look for more evidence in the Lockerbie bombing case.
Yet in this matter, an ­outrage that has seen people from John O’Groats to the Borders lose out on their life savings, there seems to be a Scots omerta. I have been interviewed by officers from Police Scotland’s Specialist Crime Division in connection with my complaint about possible fraud at Bank of Scotland and HBOS leading to a loss similar to that at RBS.
At the coming HBOS annual general meeting, I will also be asking the board to safeguard records of all past transactions by directors and to follow my example in ­inviting Police Scotland to investigate staff at Bank of Scotland/HBOS over what I believe amounts to criminal conduct.
If in time I see no visible evidence of progress in either complaint, then like Vince Cable I will be writing to the Advocate General, or anyone else who might help expedite the investigation into the outrage that has traduced Scotland’s reputation in the eyes of the world to that of a corrupt, banana republic. 

[Coincidentally, the Scottish Review today publishes a piece by editor Kenneth Roy on delays within the Scottish justice system (including COPFS).]

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