Select Committee on International Development Minutes of Evidence

Attachment 2


  A principal point raised in the Committee's proceedings of 9 January was the danger of basing policy and action on unsubstantiated allegations made against companies, particularly in view of the increasing proliferation of media speculation on such issues and its rapid propagation through the medium of the world wide web.

  In this context, we agreed that it would be appropriate to offer the Committee some observations in respect of written evidence submitted to the Committee by other parties which makes direct reference to Balfour Beatty. Amongst the inaccuracies in respect of Balfour Beatty are:

    1.  Neither Balfour Beatty nor its previous owner, BICC plc, has ever had "close links to the Conservative Party" nor has it been a Conservative Party donor within current corporate memory.

    2.  Balfour Beatty plc is not the subject of any charges in the Lesotho courts. A joint venture, led by French contractors, is the subject of charges, all of which are being vigorously defended through the legal representatives of the consortium leaders.

    3.  Material appearing in The Observer newspaper in respect of statements allegedly made to their reporter in respect of the Pergau Dam, submitted as evidence, are demonstrably false. In a letter written to Balfour Beatty in respect of the article, The Observer's quoted source told us: "I was unequivocal in making clear that I had not attributed this incident to Balfour Beatty or its Chairman. Nor did I link Balfour Beatty with the comments made by the then Trade Minister, Richard Needham."

    4.  Balfour Beatty has never, at any time, been the subject of allegations or investigations in respect of corruption in Singapore, let alone suffered a ban. We are, as we have been for many years, currently active on project work in Singapore.

24 January 2001

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2001
Prepared 5 April 2001