Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Minutes of Evidence


Examination of Witness (Questions 120 - 139)

TUESDAY 30 JANUARY 2001

MR JAFFER KAPASI OBE DL MKD

Mr Bottomley

  120. It may be, Chairman, an abbreviation of "people".
  (Mr Kapasi) As I said, I am trying to remember.

Shona McIsaac

  121. To move on, Mr Kapasi, you said you did not give Mr Vaz cash in envelopes, white or brown. You also told journalists that you gave three cheques to Mr Vaz or organisations that he was involved in. One of those is Sahara. That bit you do accept, do you not?
  (Mr Kapasi) Yes, I do accept that.

  122. The cheque you gave to Sahara, because you have stated in conversations with journalists that of the three cheques you gave Mr Vaz, two were from your personal account and one was from Dawoodi. Was it the Dawoodi cheque that went to Sahara or was it a personal cheque that went to Sahara? Can you remember?
  (Mr Kapasi) It was a personal cheque amounting to £52 which I paid to Sahara Trust. No other payments have been made and my books and records are available for independent audit which would verify if at all I have made payments to any political party. The only transactions you will find are that I make regular donations to a number of charities I am involved in.

  123. Is Mr Vaz involved in any of those charities?
  (Mr Kapasi) Not to my knowledge.

  124. Does Mr Vaz have any connections with Dawoodi to your knowledge?
  (Mr Kapasi) I do not believe so.

  125. Have you ever at any stage given any cash or cheques to an organisation called Mapesbury? Have you heard of that organisation or have you made any payments to them? It is a simple question.
  (Mr Kapasi) No, I cannot recollect. You see, the donations would mainly be to national organisations, the NSPCC or the Red Cross.

  126. Another thing I wish to clarify with you, which again is in the taped conversations, is that in one of them you say that Mr Vaz gave you a receipt for one of the cheques. Was that the Sahara cheque?
  (Mr Kapasi) Yes, it was. In fact, it is not in the exhibits. In fact, I have submitted a copy of it to the Commissioner. It was to the Sahara Trust, the £52 donation, which is a holy number, which I gave to Mr Vaz.

  127. Could you finally tell me, Mr Kapasi, why you told journalists on tape, in a taped conversation, all these facts, when you now say it may not be you, you cannot recall them or they are not true, so why did you then not go on to say that you would deny all of it?
  (Mr Kapasi) First of all, I did not realise I was being taped, and in fact if you look at the transcript—

  128. You agreed with me earlier that the truth is the truth whether it is off the record or not or whether it is taped or not.
  (Mr Kapasi) I think people do, as I explained to you earlier, bend the truth or do tell things which are not true just—

  129. Are you saying you did that?
  (Mr Kapasi) In the transcripts, yes. I have already admitted that I already—

  130. Are you saying you bent the truth in the transcripts?
  (Mr Kapasi) Yes, and I am very embarrassed by it.

  131. Precisely what truths in those tapes are you bending because, as other members of the Committee have demonstrated, we have a whole load of facts that do not stack up? Which bits of truth have been bent? Is it the amounts of money you gave Mr Vaz that have been bent or whether you gave them to him or not?
  (Mr Kapasi) You see, the truth and nothing but the truth is that I have never given any money to Mr Vaz. The only cheque which I have given him from my personal account is a donation of £52 to Sahara Trust. That is what stands today.

  132. And everything else, every other thing you told journalists, is where you bent the truth, or are you bending the truth in giving me this answer?
  (Mr Kapasi) I repeat that I have made a grave error in stating some of the things which I have said, and I do honestly apologise and I am really very embarrassed by what has been said in the transcripts.

  Shona McIsaac: Thank you for being so frank with me.

Mr Foster

  133. If I can continue with that theme, you say you bent the truth but in fact it is a total fabrication is what you are saying now, is it not? None of it was true on the transcript?
  (Mr Kapasi) Yes. I think in the case of The Sunday Times obviously I tried to retract, once I realised that I was put in a trap, and I was trapped by the Sunday Times journalist, and you can see that the phone was put down as soon as I started to say, "What I told you yesterday was a total story and it was not factual".

  134. I wonder if I can take you back to the discussions that you may have had with the Leader of the Council, Peter Soulsby. You have given us the reason why you felt that you should tell untruths to the press, but was there any discussion between you and Peter Soulsby about payments to Keith Vaz?
  (Mr Kapasi) No. I cannot recollect any conversation at all regarding payments with Sir Peter Soulsby.

  135. You say you cannot recollect them. Could there have been?
  (Mr Kapasi) I very much doubt it because there is no way I can recollect because I cannot remember.

  136. You see, it is so specific that if you had said that to him at any time, would you not remember it? Forget the detail. The issue is, "I gave money to Keith Vaz for planning or something to do with land". That principle, you say it never happened, but did you ever say anything of that order to Peter Soulsby?
  (Mr Kapasi) You see, my answer is that I really cannot recollect having this conversation at all with him.

  137. You have explained that there was a difference of opinion which was well known, the two elephants metaphor, between Mr Vaz and Mr Soulsby. But can you think of any other reason why Mr Soulsby would be so detailed in his recollection to the extent that he should write to the Town Clerk if nothing had been said about it?
  (Mr Kapasi) I think if Sir Peter Soulsby was so serious about this, which again are very serious allegations against the parties involved, then why did he not write to us to get confirmation in writing, or make enquiries in writing, as any leader would do, to verify? Why did Mr Arthur Price Jones not raise anything with us at any time? Why did Sir Peter Soulsby carry it on?

  138. They are all very good questions, but the question to you is, do you have any reason to believe, or any reason for thinking, Sir Peter Soulsby would just make this up?
  (Mr Kapasi) As I mentioned earlier, this is a fight between the two bull elephants trying to score points at the political level, and it seems that they could use everything and anything that comes in their way to achieve their ambition and their goals. That is the way I would look at it.

  139. Let me take you forward to the discussion you had with the journalists when they called. You said in answer to one of my colleagues, that they said they had evidence against you. They were your words. What did you think they had against you?
  (Mr Kapasi) They had clearly detailed information of the correspondence I had received marked "Confidential" from the Parliamentary Commissioner and they were fully aware of the transactions which were going on with other parties within the city and apparently if you had access to the tape recorded interview you would hear from Mr Rajeev Syal and also David Leppard that around 20 letters had been sent to people in Leicester enquiring about the payments, so they were fully aware how many letters—they mentioned the number 20, I think it may be, in the tape.


 
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