asked the Undersecretary for the Colonies (1) whether he was aware that a court clerk of the Brass district of Southern Nigeria was sentenced to imprisonment for embezzlement of fines paid in gin, and what steps he would take in this matter; (2) whether the practice which obtained for some time in the Brass district of Southern Nigeria of accepting fines in gin was contrary to the instructions of the Colonial Office; if so, who was responsible for this practice, and whether any, and, if so, what, notice had been taken by the Colonial Office of such a breach of duty; (3) whether he was aware that the statement made by Bishop Tugwell, of Western Equatorial Africa, that fines were paid in gin in certain; courts of the Brass district of Southern Nigeria was proved, before the recent Committee of Inquiry into the liquor traffic of Southern Nigeria, to have been the common practice in six courts of the Brass district; if so, what action he proposed to take to put a stop to this practice?
§ Colonel SEELY
The matter of payment of fines in gin was inquired into in 1908, and it was found that in certain native courts fines had been received in gin, contrary to the law. The practice has been absolutely prohibited since 1901, and the abuse which had grown up was stopped as soon as attention was drawn to it. In the circumstances, there would appear to be no ground for taking further steps in the matter of the alleged imprisonment, about three years ago, of a native clerk for embezzlement of fines illegally paid in gin.
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether that will be communicated to Bishop Tugwell, because it will be remembered that he was rather unfairly accused of making wrong statements on the matter?
§ Colonel SEELY
I think if Bishop Tugwell keeps his eye on this matter he is pretty sure to know what has been stated to-day, and, if he does not, I will see that he is informed of it.