On 13th May last I discussed the DCC/Fyffes case with Fine Gael TD David Stanton.
I wanted the matter raised in the Dail; specifically I wanted to know why the State was failing to take effective action against a man who the Supreme Court found had engaged in insider trading.
In addition, knowing that I would be wasting my time, I requested that deputy Stanton ring the Director of Public Prosecutions to enquire if his office had received a report from the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation who, it was reported, was investigating the case.
The DPP told deputy Stanton that they could not give out such information over the phone and that I should put my request in writing. I phoned the DPPs office myself and was given to understand, just as deputy Stanton was, that my question would receive a favourable answer if I put it in writing.
With a great deal of skepticism I wrote to the DPP.
To Whom It May Concern,
It was reported in the Irish Times on the 22nd December 2005 that the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation had started an inquiry into the share trading activities of DCC.
I would be grateful if you could confirm or otherwise whether the Garda Fraud Squad submitted a report or file on this case to your office.
I would also be grateful if you could say whether your office has ever considered the DCC/Fyffes insider trading case in any other form or under any other heading.
I am aware that your office cannot comment on the details of any individual case and want to emphasise that I am not looking for details but merely to ask if the DCC/Fyffes case has ever come under consideration by your office.
Over a month later and after a number of phone calls to remind the DPP that I was still around I received the following letter.
Dear Mr. Sheridan,
I refer to your letter of the 29th May 2008 in relation to the case of DCC/Fyffes.
“By way of general comment I would say that it is not the practice of this Office to confirm whether or not a file has been sent here by the Garda Siochana or other investigative agency, other than to people directly involved in the matter.”
What happened here was the age old and cynical ‘make them put it in writing’ strategy. The DPPs office could have given this information to me or deputy Stanton over the phone in about 15 seconds. Furthermore, I simply do not accept that the information I was seeking is in any way sensitive.
So where does this leave the DCC/Fyffes case?
Well the DPPs office is a dead end as is the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation because both agencies are protected by state secrecy laws.
In my opinion neither of these agencies have any intention of acting against DCC. Neither has any other state agency, apart from the ODCE, shown the slightest interest in acting in response to what is the most serious financial fraud in the history of the state.
Paul Appleby of OCDE, to his credit, is attempting to have the High Court appoint an inspector to investigator the case. He is, of course, wasting his time and taxpayers money.
He has already been to the High Court twice where a lot of hot (legal) air has been expended but as yet no inspector has been appointed.
I spoke with a staff member from the ODCE and asked him when we could expect a decision from the judge. Sometime in the immediate to medium future he replied vaguely.