Prem Sikka, professor of Accounting at the Centre for Global Accountability, University of Essex, has called for some urgent help in securing a report (codenamed The Sandstorm Report) that enabled the UK government to close the Bank of Credit and Commerce International in July 1991.
He lodged a request for information in March 2006 and after five years of battles the matter can now finally be heard by the courts.
He has about 7 days to prepare his case and is representing himself as he has not found any pro bono lawyer to act for him. He's now up against the lawyers from the Information Commissioner, the UK Treasury and the Foreign Office whose primary argument is that "disclosure of the information would prejudice the UK’s relations with another State or States". This raises enormous questions about the quality of democracy and government.
Here is the rest of his appeal:
I originally sent a call for help in July 2010 but since then the case stalled as the Information Commissioner obtained a 'stay', an appeal to the Upper Tribunal (a higher court) and a judicial review. I have mounted my own arguments and also appeared in front of a judge. The Commissioner has now lost on all counts and formal hearing on the substantive case (whether the information should be published) has been ordered. See the attached judgement which was issued by the Upper Tribunal last week in my favour. It establishes a new legal precedent for appeals.
I am making my case of the basis that the public needs to know why a bank is closed. We also need to call the regulator (BCCI at that time was regulated by the Bank of England, which is now set to become the UK banking regulator again), governments, ministers and others to account. BCCI was the biggest banking fraud of the twentieth century. Further details are provided below.
I am grateful to all those who previously helped. I now need witness statements from anyone interested in seeing the information in the public domain. Witness statements from NGOs, campaigners, academics, journalists, policymakers, bank depositors, BCCI creditors, etc. are especially welcome. Advice from anyone with experience of freedom of information litigation would be most welcome, especially on how the "public interest" arguments can be effectively mounted. My time is very short and I am desperate for any help that you can give me.