ERYC: PARNABY Cornered?
- an “In My View” article by NIGEL WARD, reporting on the on-going and persistent efforts of Mr Peter ROBINSON to hold ERYC Leader Councillor Steve PARNABY [Con.] to account.
The war of words between retired Cottingham developer Mr Peter ROBINSON and Mrs Caroline LACEY, CEO of East Riding of Yorkshire Council, has now advanced to the stage of specific allegations and corresponding denials regarding the failure of ERYC Leader Councillor Stephen PARNABY [Con.] to declare an interest in Arvarto Government Services Ltd (AGSL), a partnership company in which ERYC holds a 20% stake. This is understood to be only one of several inractions alleged by Mr ROBINSON.
PARNABY, supported by Mrs LACEY, concedes the fact of his Directorship in AGSL, but denies that it he was under any legal requirement (under the terms of the Localism Act 2011) to include his AGSL Directorship in his Register of Interests, on the grounds that he received not one penny for his twelve years service to AGSL. If this were the case, perhaps it would have been prudent of Councillor PARNABY to make the declaration in order to demonstrate that nothing untoward was being concealed from the public?
The issue is further muddied by the fact that Arvarto Government Services Ltd (AGSL) is just one in a whole nest of companies controlled by German multinational corporation BERTELSMANN Group, based in Gütersloh, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.
Mr ROBINSON has now revealed that the reason that the AGSL accounts show no record of “emoluments” being paid to Directors by AGSL was that all three Directors’ “emoluments” were disbursed by a separate company from elsewhere within the BERTELSMANN Group. Why this arrangement was preferred is unclear, though some financial advisers have pointed to potential tax advantages derivable from such arrangements.
“Emoluments” is a legal term, defined as follows:
It would appear that in 2010 and 2011, for example, the three Directors of Arvarto Government Services Ltd collectively received “emoluments” in the sums of £79,000 and £85,000 respectively, as the following extract from Companies’ House (CH) documentation confirms (though it remains unclear how these sums were divided between the three):
Mr ROBINSON has also demonstrated, citing further CH documentation, that the AGSL Directors – Debra MAXWELL, Richard PARKIN and Councillor Stephen Robert PARNABY – received their emoluments from one of AGSL’s sister companies within the BERTELSMANN Group:
Mr ROBINSON has not thus far disclosed whether or not he holds documentation confirming any additional payment of emoluments to the three AGSL directors via any other companies in the BERTELSMANN Group, nor has he disclosed whether or not Councillor PARNABY holds undisclosed shares in AGSL.
In pursuit of his allegations against Councillor PARNABY, Mr ROBINSON has today released into the public domain a further letter to Mrs LACEY, reproduced below. (Earlier exchanges between Mr ROBINSON and Mrs LACEY have been made public by Mr ROBINSON and can be reviewed on the Enquirer here.
From: Peter RobinsonSent: Monday, July 3, 2017 1:43 PMTo: All ERYC CouncillorsSubject: Non disclosure of pecuniary interest, Arvato / Cllr. Parnaby, a formal complaint
Dear councillorsI attach copy of my letter to Caroline Lacey delivered this morning. I had hoped to be able to discuss its contents with Mrs Lacey but unfortunately she was not available to see me.You will see from the accompanying Arvato Government Services Ltd. account documents that Cllr Parnaby`s directorship of this company does result in him receiving emoluments despite all the correspondence I have had with County Hall denying this.How much longer does this man get your support in covering up his many offences. Your comments would be welcome.Best regardsPeter Robinson