Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witness (Questions 540 - 559)



  540. What was the largest sum that you paid him?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) The largest sum which I paid was in 1994 for an event which I had agreed to sponsor—a charitable event which I had agreed to sponsor—and that was £1,000. If my memory serves me correct, it was an Indian cyclone disaster appeal. I had agreed to sponsor that charitable event some time in 1993—October or September of 1993—but the payment of which was made much later in 1994.

  541. How did you make that payment?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) We had not made the payment. Individuals from that charity came along, and I made the payment to them.

  542. In what form?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) It was paid in cash to them.

  543. Why was it paid in cash?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) Very simple—because they wanted the payment in cash, because the payment was late. I can tell you very, very frankly, I was in my office at 95A Chancery Lane, which is not my current office. I have a very busy practice; it is a smallish practice, but a very, very busy practice. I knew they were coming because I owed them £1,000 for some sponsorship which my firm had taken for this charitable event. They said that because of the urgency they wanted the payment in cash, and the payment was made in cash. That is why.

  544. It seems strange to require a payment in cash for an emergency fund. Presumably that money was not going to be handed over to the fund in cash form?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) Sir, I would not have considered it strange, because if they came along and said that "Because you made the payment late", and because they wanted to make use of the money, "would you mind giving cash?" My bookkeeper would have taken a receipt for that payment, and that payment would have gone through our books as a donation.

  545. You got a receipt for it?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) Would have taken it. I do not have the receipt now, but would have taken a receipt, because that payment has gone through the audit.

  546. You would have had a receipt from whom?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) Whoever received the £1,000.

  547. From the fund itself?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) No, I would have— To whoever I paid the money; he would have acknowledged it.

  548. Yes, but you gave the money to Mr Vaz, did you not?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) I did not give it to Mr Vaz.

  549. That £1,000—whom did you give it to?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) I gave it to the representatives of the charity event. I never gave anything to Mr Vaz.

  550. Have you never given cash to Mr Vaz?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) I have never given anything to Mr Vaz. I have taken an oath, and I will say I have never given anything to Mr Vaz. Mr Vaz has never asked me for money, and it is completely untrue. These false allegations have been made against me by Mr Milne simply to malign me.

  551. So when the cash came to you, was Mr Vaz present?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) No, he was not present.

  552. He was not present at any time when you received cash?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) No, he was not present, and there is no suggestion that he was present. Sir, I am very concerned, because both in the case of Mr Baldry and in the case of the allegation against Mr Vaz, the real intent of Mr Milne is to malign me. I have been damaged, and my practice, which a year before was £***, is down to £*** this year, because I have overseas clients and they have refused to come to me because of the allegations of corrupt dealings. These allegations are completely untrue. Sir, may I also say this: that Mr Milne has been investigated by the police and by the OSS. Sir Brian Neill, in his arbitration award, has found that he had stolen money from my firm. There is an Arbitration Tribunal award which he has not honoured, and he has now gone bankrupt.

  553. That £1,000 was made out to the fund. What was the name of the fund?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) That £1,000 was made out as cash.

  554. Yes, and handed to whom?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) Handed to the two representatives of the charity which came.

  555. What were their names?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) I would not remember now, sir.

  556. Not the name of the charity?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) No, no. (After speaking with Miss Chapman) It was an Indian disaster, but we do not know the precise name of the charity.

  557. An Indian disaster?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) An Indian cyclone appeal fund, but I knew nothing more about the charity, because precisely the circumstances in which it happened were that Mr Vaz—I think it was an event in the House of Commons, an Asian event in the House of Commons.

  558. What did you know about these two men (I take it they were) who came and asked you for this money for this fund? What did you know about them?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) I did not know anything about them.

  559. You gave £1,000 to people you knew nothing about?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) Sir, I knew they were coming to collect the sponsorship money which I had agreed to pay.

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