Letter to the Rt Hon Tony Blair MP, Prime
Minister, from Mr Graeme Peene
* * *
In the Public Interest, and in accordance with the
Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998, I now wish to make a Protected
Disclosure to your office concerning the conduct of Mr Keith VAZ
MP Leicester East. I make this disclosure to ensure that in this
instance, appropriate and requisite action is taken, and would
advise I have copied the letter to Mr George Trevelyan, Chief
Executive, Intervention Board Executive Agency, and the Rt Hon
William Hague MP, Leader of the Opposition.
After leaving the Department of Trade & Industry
during October 1997 I took up a new position with the Intervention
Board Executive Agency Anti Fraud Unit. I will not go into details
other than to state that the problems and difficulties I encountered
within the Department of Trade & Industry have unacceptably
followed me to the Intervention Board. Whilst carrying out my
duties as an Investigation Officer and investigating matters in
accordance with instructions issued by line management I found
myself being subjected to malicious and ill founded threats connected
with my employment at the Department of Trade & Industry.
* * *
Included in the Formal Grievance document is a complaint
concerning the conduct of Mr Keith VAZ MP Leicester East in relation
to a meeting that took place on 17th April 1999 at the Belgrave
Neighbourhood Centre, Leicester. The meeting took place following
the receipt of a letter dated 14th April 1999 from Mr VAZ advising,
"I would be grateful if you would call to see me at one of
surgeries so that we can discuss matters".
Mr VAZ's office would have held my details on file
because I had previously written to him about the problems encountered
at the Department of Trade & Industry.
Following the receipt of the Mr VAZ's letter of 14th
April 1999 my wife *** made an appointment with Mr VAZ for 3.30
pm on Saturday 17th April 1999 at the Belgrave Neighbourhood Centre,
Leicester. Believing that Mr VAZ had information concerning the
Department of Trade & Industry my wife *** and myself attended
the meeting with Mr VAZ.
Upon entering the meeting room Mr VAZ, unusually,
was not accompanied by an Aide. Mr VAZ proceeded to ask questions
about my problems at the Department of Trade & Industry and
enquired "whether my problems at the Department of Trade
& Industry had anything to do with my Russian Butter Export
I was totally amazed and taken aback by Mr VAZ's
enquiry because the Russian Butter Export Refund Investigation
was at that point in time only known to a small number of Senior
Intervention Board Anti Fraud Unit personnel. I refused to discuss
the matter with Mr VAZ and sought to obtain an explanation from
him about how he knew anything about the investigation. Mr Vaz
did not provide a satisfactory explanation and went on to discuss
The Russian Butter Export Refund Investigation was
politically sensitive, had not been formerly registered as an
investigation, had levy implications for the United Kingdom, and
concerned suspected serious criminal conduct by United Kingdom
Limited Companies and non EEC Countries/Nationals.
By Saturday 17th April 1999 only one external enquiry
had been carried out into the Russian Butter Export Refund Investigation.
Whilst it would not be correct for me to identify the company
or venue of the initial enquiry, I remain deeply concerned that
within a matter of weeks of the initial enquiry I should receive
an approach from a Member of Parliament concerning a highly sensitive
political criminal investigation!
It is my understanding that an officer of the Limited
Company visited by the Intervention Board is or was either a director,
or a co-director on the board of another Limited Company that
has connections with Mr VAZ. A Companies House search should confirm
In my opinion the following questions should be asked
of Mr VAZ:
1. Why was Mr VAZ making enquiries into a Confidential
and Politically Sensitive Criminal Investigation that was being
conducted on behalf of the Intervention Board an Executive Agency
of H M Government?
2. What information was Mr VAZ seeking from myself?
3. What did Mr VAZ intend to do with the information?
4. Who contacted Mr VAZ and requested him to
make enquiries on their behalf?
5. Was it Mr VAZ's intention to attempt to influence
the outcome of the investigation?
Civil Servants and Members of H M Government should
at all times conduct themselves honestly with integrity, and they
should not depart from the standards that are set and which parliament
and public expect.
I reported Mr VAZ's conduct through my line management
chain during early May 1999, no action appears to have been taken,
the matter has never again been raised, and I have not received
any feedback to allay my concerns.
I am a retired Police Officer, and throughout the
past 10 years whilst working as an established Civil Servant I
have found myself surrounded by corruption, incompetence and a
reluctance to deal with matters in an appropriate manner. Attempts
have been made to incite me to act in an illegal, unethical and
improper manner but no one appears concerned. This is unacceptable
to myself and the Government should not tolerate such conduct.
Until such time as Government Agencies accept that problems do
exist, and whilst no one is prepared to grasp the nettle and deal
with the problems once and for all, matters will continue to be
covered up and swept under the carpet. In short nothing other
than a Public Enquiry is required into these affairs.
Sir Anthony Hammond QC has been appointed to conduct
an investigation into the Hindujas, and would suggest that possibly
the terms of reference could be expanded to include the conduct
of Mr VAZ in relation to the approach made to my wife and myself
on 17th April 1999. In the alternative an independent investigation
is undertaken into Mr VAZ's conduct.
As a constituent of Mr VAZ and a serving Civil Servant
living a very short distance from his family home and Leicester
East Headquarters, given all the events leading to this Protected
Disclosure I feel that there should be no repercussions and detriment
either towards myself or my family.
Furthermore, that my rights to privacy and freedom
of speech are respected under the European Convention on Human
I look forward to your reply.
29 January 2001