Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Minutes of Evidence

Examination of witness (Questions 340 - 359)



  340. Not Milne. We are talking about Brown, the claim that he handed you this money.
  (Mr Vaz) I have no idea. I have never met him. Just before The Telegraph was going to publish this story—it is in the letters—I rang Mrs Filkin and I said that I had never heard of anyone called Mr Brown. The only Browns I knew, I think I said, were Nick and Gordon.

  341. You might have known his name, you see, because of his job in the office.
  (Mr Vaz) No. I do not remember ever meeting him.

  342. You would not have known everyone in a big office.
  (Mr Vaz) I would remember if someone gave me a thousand quid.

  343. When we go to the next page Milne obviously has made unflattering comments about various people and I will cut out the first part of the sentence halfway down this page, where he said, "... and one imagines they might round up a number of people to say he was in the habit of receiving cash from them. BB: Maybe, maybe, but they wont get anything from me, I can assure you." That does not fit in with a man who is out to get you or anything like that, nor with a man who is out to appease Milne How do you explain that situation?
  (Mr Vaz) Mrs Filkin asked me these questions. I do not think I could even begin to explain the complex web of relationships between all these people in this firm. In particular I do not think I can explain to you why Brown says that all this information was given to him by a third party and when he says what he was doing. I think Mrs Filkin actually analyses this part of the evidence extremely well when she says that there is a lack of consistency and credibility in what is going on here. I have no idea. It is just bizarre. I find the whole thing bizarre. On page 16 he says, "I will give you these names Khalid 2530380". Who is Khalid?

  344. In a way what he is saying there fits in with what Kapasi said and then withdrew in terms of the things that were going on.
  (Mr Vaz) Why? Has he withdrawn it?

  345. Brown has not, not to my knowledge.
  (Mr Vaz) No, but, Mr Williams, the stories are totally inconsistent. You do not know whether they are talking about the same event or a different event. You do not know what their dates are. We have not examined the tapes, not that we want to particularly any more. What I find the most bizarre part of this is that this conversation took place before Milne writes to Mrs Filkin. Mrs Filkin sees Milne on the Wednesday in her office and we do not have a minute of what was said there. On the Friday Milne writes to Mrs Filkin sending a faxed copy to the Sunday Telegraph. I find this very odd because he knows the story he is telling Elizabeth Filkin is wrong because he has had a conversation with Brown but he still persists in giving her the wrong explanation.

  346. But I have quoted Milne.
  (Mr Vaz) No, but in respect of Brown, I am talking about.

  347. You cannot blame Milne for what Brown said. You cannot blame Brown for Milne's duplicity.
  (Mr Vaz) No, that is true.

  348. However, I will leave that. One quick simple point to end up, nothing terribly controversial. You did say in answer to one of my colleagues in relation to Mapesbury that Mrs Filkin has the accounts. I do not think that is actually correct.
  (Mr Vaz) I am sorry. I said probably she has asked for them.

  349. In fact she has asked for them but all she has been provided with is a statement from the accountants, not the accounts. I am sure the Committee would appreciate it if you would use your good offices to ensure that the accounts are available because this morning we had a glowing example of how an accountant can sometimes have terrible lapses in his perception of what is accurate.

Mr Foster

  350. The company Mapesbury: you were a director at one time? That is correct, is it?
  (Mr Vaz) No, I have never been a director.

  351. You said in one passage that there had been a change of officers. I wonder if you can tell me what those changes were?
  (Mr Vaz) Yes. My mother-in-law died and somebody else took over with my mother. I do not know. Another director.

  352. It is not the position at present, is it, that your wife is the only director?
  (Mr Vaz) No. I do not know—the other one is my mother. It is in the accounts. I do not know who all the directors are.
  (Mrs Filkin) We have the name.

  353. In terms of the management of that company, to the best of your knowledge and belief who effectively manages the company?
  (Mr Vaz) I do not know. I would imagine it is the new person they have brought in when they changed.

  354. Who would have authorised those changes as far as you know?
  (Mr Vaz) Not me because it was not my company.

  355. I want to switch to something else about Mr Zaiwalla. What was your relationship with Mr Zaiwalla? You used to visit his office at times; is that right?
  (Mr Vaz) Yes, I visited his office once or twice. I saw him at every single Asian community event, all kinds of things, at Law Society stuff, you know.

  356. When was the last time that you saw him?
  (Mr Vaz) The last time I saw him was—when was the Labour Party conference?

  357. The end of September.
  (Mr Vaz) I saw him at the Chinese Ambassador's reception for the Republic of China Day or some such name anyway. I have the date. I think I had come back from Brighton and attended that on a Thursday evening. I said "Hello" and he said "Hello" and that was it.

  358. At any time in the past year has he sought your advice on any issues concerning the running of his business or anything connected with his business?
  (Mr Vaz) No. Mr Zaiwalla does not need any advice from me. I am sure he can do that very competently for himself.

  359. If anyone suggested that you were involved in assisting him in the management of his business or in connection with his business and issues surrounding that, that would be wrong, would it?
  (Mr Vaz) Yes, absolutely. Has that been put?

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