Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witness (Questions 560 - 579)



  560. Who told you about the character of these two gentlemen?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) Mr Vaz would have phoned me.

  561. And he said, "There are two men coming. I can vouch for them. Give them £1,000." Was that it?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) No, sir.

  562. Tell me what it was.
  (Mr Zaiwalla) Mr Vaz phoned me up and said, "You've not paid. You owe £1,000 to this charitable event, and the charity is sending somebody to collect it. Would you please honour your commitment?"

  563. That gave you the assurance that those two men were responsible enough to hand over £1,000 to them?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) Yes, sir.

  564. You got a receipt for that, I think you mentioned?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) We would have obtained a receipt. The bookkeeper would have taken a receipt, because it has passed the audit, and we would not have passed the audit if there was no receipt. I suspect that the receipt is now not available because either Mr Milne has removed it—because Mr Milne had removed a lot of documents which would incriminate him, and the first thing that Mr Milne did when he was caught was to give me a blackmail threat that if I complained to the police he would spoil my name and cause me embarrassment. I went through with the arbitration, obtained an award, I did complain to the police, because I had nothing to hide.

  565. Mr Brown was the bookkeeper you sent to the bank. You told that to the Commissioner on 24 May 2000. You told the Commissioner that Mr Brown collected the cash, he came back with the cash and he came and saw you and the two men?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) No, he would not have seen me.

  566. How did the cash pass from Mr Brown to them?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) I will tell you, sir, exactly what happened. In my old office at 95A Chancery Lane the reception was just outside my office, therefore the receptionist would have told me that "Somebody's come to see you to collect a cheque", and I would have gone out.

  567. That cheque was signed by you?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) In the first instance the receptionist would simply have told me that "Somebody has come to collect a cheque", so I would have gone to see them, because I would not have called them in. I said, "What is it?", and they said, "Mr Vaz has said that you're going to pay for the outstanding sponsorship amount for our charity." I would have asked Brian Brown, the bookkeeper, to make out a cheque, and I think Brian Brown would have then come and said to me that they want cash. I would have gone out and asked them why do they want cash; in a rush I would have said, "Okay, fine, give them the cash." That is all that would have happened.

  568. But you signed the cheque for cash?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) I signed the cheque.

  569. Payable to cash?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) Payable to cash.

  570. And you signed that cheque in the receptionist's office or in your own office?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) In the reception. Sorry, it may be in my own office.

  571. So you heard that they wanted cash. Mr Brown presumably made out the cheque for cash, and in your office or in the reception you signed the cheque, and he went and collected the money, is that it?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) It could be, but to be accurate, sir, it may have been made out to the name of the charity, and then made out to cash later on. I do not know. It is so many years ago, it is very difficult for me to say with any degree of certainty.

  572. Anyway, you signed the cheque and you went out and got the money?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) I would not have gone to the bank myself.

  573. No, Mr Brown presumably went to the bank, got the money, came back with the money, and then how did he transfer the money to you?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) He would not have given it directly to me but paid it directly to the people.

  574. Directly to the people?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) Yes, against the receipt.

  575. Who were waiting in the reception?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) Waiting in the reception, yes.

  576. And you were satisfied with that?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) I saw nothing wrong, because I had made a commitment to give £1,000 to a charity, and I had honoured my commitment.

  577. You felt that that was a sufficient way to proceed, a satisfactory way to proceed, to give to two men whom you did not know, and on the basis of Mr Vaz telling you that they were okay, you handed the money over to them?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) They represented a charity.

  578. The money was handed over to them in your absence?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) I was in the office next door.

  579. But you did not see the money handed over?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) I knew that the money would be handed over, but I do not think I actually would have seen the money being handed over.

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2001
Prepared 16 March 2001