Industrial and Provident Societies (Amendment) Act, 1978

Provisions supplemental to section 13.

14.—(1) An officer, member, agent or servant of a society the affairs of which are being investigated under section 13 shall produce to the inspector all books, accounts, deeds, records or other documents of or relating to the society which are in the power, possession or procurement of such a person and otherwise give to the inspector all assistance in connection with the investigation which such a person is reasonably able to give.

(2) If any person who is an officer, member, agent or servant of the society refuses to answer any question put to him by the inspector with respect to the affairs of the society, the person shall be guilty of an offence under section 28.

(3) Subject to subsection (4), if the inspector thinks it necessary for the purpose of his investigation that a person whom he has no power to examine on oath should be so examined, he may apply to the Court and the Court may, if it thinks fit, order that person to attend and be examined on oath before it on any matter relevant to the investigation, and on any such examination—

(a) the inspector may take part therein by solicitor or counsel;

(b) the Court may put such questions to the person examined as it thinks fit;

(c) the person examined shall answer all such questions as the Court may put or allow to be put to him, but may at his own cost employ a solicitor (with or without counsel) who shall be at liberty to put to him such questions as the Court may think fit for the purpose of enabling him to explain or qualify any answers given by him;

and notes of the examination shall be taken down in writing, and shall be read over to or by, and signed by the person examined and may thereafter be used in evidence against him.

(4) Notwithstanding anything in subsection (3) (c), the Court may allow the person examined such costs as, in its discretion, it may think fit, and any costs so allowed shall be paid as part of the expenses of the investigation.

(5) The Registrar shall forward to the Minister and to the registered office of the society a copy of each report of an investigation under section 13, and shall also furnish a copy to the Court where an application under subsection (3) is made to the Court.

(6) The Registrar may, if he thinks fit, cause the report to be printed and published.

(7) The Minister may lay the report under subsection (5) before each House of the Oireachtas and such publication shall be privileged.

(8) (a) Where it appears to the Registrar after consideration of a report under section 13 that proceedings ought in the public interest to be brought by a society for damages, in respect of any fraud, misfeasance or other misconduct in connection with the promotion or formation of the society or the carrying on of the business of the society, for the recovery of any property misapplied or wrongfully retained, he may bring proceedings for that purpose in the name of the society.

(b) The Minister may indemnify a society against any costs or expenses incurred by it in or in connection with any proceedings brought under paragraph (a).

(9) A copy of any report of an inspector appointed under section 13 shall be admissible in any legal proceedings as evidence of the opinion of the inspector in relation to any matter contained in the report.

(10) Nothing in this section shall require disclosure to the Registrar or to an inspector appointed by him—

(a) by a solicitor of any privileged communication made to him in that capacity, or

(b) by bankers of any information as to the affairs of any customer other than the society or other body corporate the affairs of which are being investigated.

(11) Where proceedings are instituted under this section, nothing in this section shall require any person who has acted as solicitor for a society to disclose any privileged communications made to him otherwise than as such solicitor.

(12) Where under section 13 the affairs of a society (other than a society referred to in that section as the first-mentioned society) or of any body corporate are being investigated, references in this section to officers, members, agents or servants of a society shall be construed as references to officers, members, agents or servants of that society or body corporate.

(13) (a) Where it appears to the Registrar that any person has, in relation to a society the affairs of which have been investigated under section 13, been guilty of any offence for which he is criminally liable, the Registrar shall refer the matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

(b) Where the Director of Public Prosecutions institutes proceedings consequent on the receipt by him of a report under paragraph (a), it shall be the duty of all officers, members, agents and servants of the society (other than a defendant in the proceedings) to give him all assistance in connection with the prosecution which they are reasonably able to give.