Hugh Grant must go, Scottish Parliament told - multiple items
Robin Harper, Member of the Scottish Parliament, speaking to Scotland's First Minister:
"During 1997-1998, Mr Grant was managing director of Monsanto's Asia Pacific division and was promoted to having global responsibility for agriculture. He was not on holiday with Monsanto; he had overall responsibility during most of that period of corrupt practice." (item 1)
Robin Harper MSP in a statement to the press:
"The big issue this week is... the fact that the CEO of a corporation convicted of systematic bribery in its international dealings is on a government sponsored advisory committee... Ministers must intervene now and demand the resignation of Hugh Grant from SE. This is the real 'conflict of interest' political issue of the week. ...Hugh Grant has got to go." (item 4)
1.What was said in the Scottish Parliament
- Official Report
2.Greens call for Monsanto chief to quit over bribes - The Scotsman
3.Support for Scotland adviser in bribes row - The Times
4.Monsanto caught with trousers down, Hugh Grant has got to go - Press release
Thursday 13 January 2005
[from the Official Report]
Robin Harper: Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan Nobel prize winner, told Gordon Brown earlier this week that corruption is unacceptable. What is the First Minister's view of the embarrassment that a Mr Hugh Grant - not the actor - who was in charge of Monsanto's Asia Pacific division at the time when Monsanto was bribing Indonesian officials, is now an adviser to Scottish Enterprise?
The First Minister: Anything that Hugh Grant is questioned on in his dealings with that company in the past is a matter for him to answer for in relation to any suggestions that have been made. As is the case with the other members of our international advisory board, Hugh Grant gives his time voluntarily, as an expatriate Scot who cares deeply about this country, to help Scottish companies grow their global businesses and markets. He does that very effectively and I welcome his intervention and assistance.
Robin Harper: During the period 1997-2002, $700,000 was given in illegal payments to Indonesian Government officials. During 1997-1998, Mr Grant was managing director of Monsanto's Asia Pacific division and was promoted to having global responsibility for agriculture. He was not on holiday with Monsanto; he had overall responsibility during most of that period of corrupt practice. Is not that an embarrassment and does not the First Minister intend to do anything about it?
The First Minister: I will not comment in the chamber on any allegations that should be dealt with properly by the courts and the international agencies that have those responsibilities. However, I am clear that the members of our international advisory board in Scottish Enterprise, who give their time freely and voluntarily to come to this country and assist Scottish businesses to grow their international markets, do so willingly and with my support. As long as they do not have convictions against their names for international business practices, they will do so again.
2.Greens call for Monsanto chief to quit advisory role over bribes
The Scotsman, 14 january 2005
THE Scottish head of a multi-national GM crop company yesterday came under increasing pressure to quit his post as a business adviser to Scottish Enterprise.
The Green Party called for Hugh Grant to step down after his company, Monsanto, admitted to paying £400,000 in bribes to officials in Indonesia.
Raising the issue at First Minister’s questions in the Scottish Parliament, Robin Harper, the Green Party leader, called for Mr Grant to be kicked off the International Advisory Board, set up by Scottish Enterprise to advise businesses on how to expand overseas.
Mr Harper told the parliament Mr Grant was in charge of Monsanto's Asia-Pacific division at a time when the company was "bribing Indonesian officials".
"The big issue this week is the fact that the chief executive of a corporation convicted of systematic bribery in its international dealings is on a government-sponsored advisory committee that helps Scottish businesses in their international dealings," said Mr Harper.
"If Scottish Enterprise fails to see the conflict, ministers must intervene now and demand the resignation of Mr Grant from Scottish Enterprise."
Mr McConnell rejected the demand stating: "Mr Grant gives his time voluntarily as an expatriate Scot who cares deeply about this country. I welcome his assistance."
And Scottish Enterprise also rejected calls for Mr Grant’s resignation, defending his reputation as a "respected global player" and insisting he was on the board in a personal capacity, not as a representative of Monsanto.
3.Support for Scotland adviser in bribes row
By Angus Macleod, Scottish Political Editor
The Times, January 14, 2005
JACK McCONNELL yesterday defended the Scottish businessman who heads an international company which has admitted paying bribes to Indonesian government officials.
Hugh Grant was in charge of Monsanto's Asian-Pacific division at the time the bribes were paid and is now on the International Advisory Board set up by Scottish Enterprise, the business-promotion quango north of the border.
The issue was raised by Robin Harper, the Scottish Green MSP, at First Minister’s Question Time in the Scottish Parliament yesterday. Mr Harper asked Mr McConnell for his opinion on whether Mr Grant, now the worldwide head of Monsanto, a GM crops multi-national, should continue in his role with Scottish Enterprise.
Mr McConnell replied: "I'm not going to comment on any issues that should be dealt with by the courts. Hugh Grant gives his time voluntarily as an expatriate Scot who cares deeply about this country. I welcome his assistance."
At the end of last week the US-based company agreed to pay fines totalling $1.5 million (£803,000) for breaking anti-corruption laws. It was accused of bribing more than 140 Indonesian officials between 1997 and 2002.
Environmentalists in Scotland are demanding that Mr Grant should be removed from the International Advisory Board. But Scottish Enterprise has rejected the calls and defended his reputation as a "respected global player".
Mr Grant was born in 1958 in Larkhall, Lanarkshire, and educated at both Glasgow and Edinburgh universities. He joined Monsanto in Scotland in 1981 and has risen through the ranks to lead what is now one of the world’s biggest GM corporations.
He has served on the Scottish Enterprise advisory board since 2002.
4.McCONNELL'S REAL CONFLICT OF INTEREST PROBLEM LIES IN SCOTTISH ENTERPRISE
- Monsanto caught with trousers down, Hugh Grant has got to go
13th January 2005
Scottish Green Co-convener Robin Harper MSP dismissed the political and media frenzy over Kirsty Wark and Jack McConnell's holiday as hardly an issue at all compared to the revelation that the CEO of an international company, which has recently been convicted of systematic bribery of government officials, is allowed to remain as an official adviser to Scottish Enterprise.
Last week the GM company Monsanto agreed to pay fines totalling over GBP800,000 for breaking US anti-corruption laws. This followed a US Department of Justice investigation of Monsanto, accused of bribing more than 140 Indonesian officials and members of their families between 1997 and 2002. In 2002, one senior civil servant was paid $50,000 in relation to the planting of GM crops. Monsanto has also agreed to retain an independent consultant for three years to check there are no further breaches of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. (1)
The Chief Executive and International President of Monsanto, a Mr Hugh Grant, sits on Scottish Enterprise's International Advisory Board. Mr Grant was Managing Director in Indonesia from 1995 to 1998 and went on to head up Monsanto's Agriculture Division internationally.
Robin Harper said: "The big issue this week is not the First Minister's holidays, but the fact that the CEO of a corporation convicted of systematic bribery in its international dealings is on a government sponsored advisory committee that helps Scottish businesses in their international dealings. Scottish Enterprise fail to see the conflict, Ministers must intervene now and demand the resignation of Hugh Grant from SE. This is the real 'conflict of interest' political issue of the week. The Wark-McConnell story is playground politics in comparison. Hugh Grant has got to go, and McConnell should intervene."
Mark Ruskell MSP, who has lodged a bill in the Scottish Parliament which would make biotech companies directly liable for contamination and economic damage from trials of GM crops, or from commercialisation if the Libdem/Labour coalition gets its way, said: "This just emphasises the cosy relationship between the Labour/Libdem coalition and the biotech industry. I must say I am not surprised that Monsanto was caught carrying out these practices."
Green MSPs are not alleging that Mr Grant knew anything directly of these corrupt practices. The important point is that irrespective of whether he knew anything or not, he had overall responsibility for the companies operations in the Asia-Pacific region and is thereby compromised to that extent.
For further information contact the Green MSP Press Office on 0131 348 6360
1. For information on US Justice Department findings in the recent case go to: http://www.sec.gov/litigation/litreleases/lr19023.htm
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