To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, pursuant to the Answer of 17 December 2020 to Question 115685 on Arms Trade Export Controls; what those errors were; what period of time elapsed before those errors were identified and the licences revoked; whether any inappropriate deliveries were made under those licences before revocation; and what steps her Department is taking to prevent similar errors recurring.
24 February 2021
One OIEL had one destination revoked (Isle of Man). The Isle of Man is a British Crown Dependency and we do not licence exports of military goods to there from the United Kingdom. A licence was issued on 9th January 2014, the error was identified on 10th February 2015 and the licence revoked 11th February 2015.
One OIEL for a variety of goods to a large number of countries had some items for three destinations (Hong Kong, Mongolia and Taiwan) recommended for rejection by one adviser. A licence was issued on 12th May 2015, the error was identified on 29th May 2015, and the licence revoked on 3rd July 2015. The procedure for partial refusal recommendations from advisers has now been amended.
One OIEL had 31 destinations revoked (Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Barbados, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Gibraltar, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Namibia, New Caledonia and Dependencies, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, St Helena, Switzerland, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, United States and Uruguay). The items included on this application required import authorisation from recipient countries before an export licence is granted specifying quantities, which could not be obtained. A licence was issued on 12th February 2019 and the error identified on 15th July 2019; the licence was revoked 17th July 2019.
Two OITCLs for Sierra Leone had goods revoked because the licences were issued in error (Criterion 1). The activity licenced, which was the promotion of supply of less-lethal weapons, was outside the scope of policy as set out by Lord Howell on 9th February 2012. One licence was issued on 5th January 2017 and another on 14th June 2017. The errors were identified on 22nd July 2019 and the licences revoked 29th July 2019.
We keep our processes under constant review and have an ongoing staff training programme. We do not hold information on any transfers that took place under these historic licences, but these licences have been corrected now. We have implemented a transformation programme which, amongst other things, will be improving our processes and control mechanisms, as well as implementing recommendations from an internal audit report.