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(1)The Minister may at any time, by notice to the chairman, suspend an inquiry for such period as appears to him to be necessary to allow for—
(a)the completion of any other investigation relating to any of the matters to which the inquiry relates, or
(b)the determination of any civil or criminal proceedings (including proceedings before a disciplinary tribunal) arising out of any of those matters.
(2)The power conferred by subsection (1) may be exercised whether or not the investigation or proceedings have begun.
(3)Before exercising that power the Minister must consult the chairman.
(4)A notice under subsection (1) may suspend the inquiry until a specified day, until the happening of a specified event or until the giving by the Minister of a further notice to the chairman.
(5)Where the Minister gives a notice under subsection (1) he must—
(a)set out in the notice his reasons for suspending the inquiry;
(b)lay a copy of the notice, as soon as is reasonably practicable, before the relevant Parliament or Assembly.
(6)A member of an inquiry panel may not exercise the powers conferred by this Act during any period of suspension; but the duties imposed on a member of an inquiry panel by section 9(3) and (4) continue during any such period.
(7)In this section “period of suspension” means the period beginning with the receipt by the chairman of the notice under subsection (1) and ending with whichever of the following is applicable—
(a)the day referred to in subsection (4);
(b)the happening of the event referred to in that subsection;
(c)the receipt by the chairman of the further notice under that subsection.
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