Examination of Witness (Questions 640
TUESDAY 6 FEBRUARY 2001
640. Mr Zaiwalla, you said there would be the
existence of a receipt for £1,000 that Mr Brown, as a bookkeeper,
would have insisted upon?
(Mr Zaiwalla) Yes.
641. You then went on to say, in answer to the
Chairman, that it may have been removed by Mr Milne because it
would have incriminated him?
(Mr Zaiwalla) Not incriminated him, but to have something
642. That is the word you used; you said "because
it might incriminate Mr Milne" it was removed. What did you
mean by that?
(Mr Zaiwalla) May I say, if I said "incriminate"
him that is an incorrect word used by me. What I meant was that
soon after Mr Milne's theft was discovered, he wrote me a long
letter making all sorts of allegations, and he was prepared for
the evil day. Mr Milne's strategy was that the firm would go bankrupt,
and his theft was never discovered, his piece of fraud was not
discovered, therefore he had prepared himself to attack me with,
one after the other.
643. But why would that particular document
be advantageous to Mr Milne in this conspiracy that you are now
describing; why that particular piece of paper?
(Mr Zaiwalla) Because he can then make this allegation.
644. I do not really follow why that particular
piece of paper should be significant in this conspiracy that you
(Mr Zaiwalla) The only reason is because he could
then make this allegation against Mr Vaz, just as he made the
allegation against Mr Baldry and a lot of my other friends.
645. Okay, I will leave that one. The other
thing that interests me about this particular event
(Mr Zaiwalla) May I interrupt you, with your permission,
sir. It is also possible that this documentthe receiptis
genuinely lost, because after this event Brown's theft was discovered,
the police investigated all the documents, the Law Society investigated
all the documents, and the documents have been gone through so
often. When the Milne theft was discovered four or five years
later, we had a massive arbitration before Sir Brian Neill against
a very, very difficult opponent. In fact, I now have a claim against
the auditors and I find that the original cheques in the Milne
claim have all disappeared. I am not suggesting there is anything
sinister, but they are probably lost, because there is a huge
box of papers, and it is very, very difficult to say with any
degree of accuracy.
646. Turning now to Mr Brown collecting the
£1,000 in cash, the story we are hearing now is that two
representatives of the charity that Mr Vaz recommended were in
your office, or in the reception outside. Was Mr Vaz not on the
scene at all during that transaction?
(Mr Zaiwalla) No.
647. Mr Brown, as I understand it, then offered
the cheque, to pick up the cash. What would be the timescale of
this? As we understand it, the bank is in the same premises, is
(Mr Zaiwalla) Same building, yes.
648. So it would be a very short timescale?
(Mr Zaiwalla) Ten to 15 minutes maximum.
649. At no time was Mr Vaz at the bank?
(Mr Zaiwalla) No, absolutely certain. May I say this,
sir, that both the allegations against Mr Baldry and Keith Vaz
were calculated just to damage me, but I have stood firm, I have
put God in front of me. I decided to take Mr Milne on, and I went
through the most horrible cross examination before Sir Brian Neill
the Arbitrator. I have been a witness for two days, and he believed
me, he does believe me, and he made a finding that Mr Milne had
650. I am still not entirely clear about this
£2,450, how it is actually made up. You were very precise
about the £2,450.
(Mr Zaiwalla) I have roughly calculated this.
651. It is not a precise figure?
(Mr Zaiwalla) No, I have just roughly calculated it.
652. I wondered why there was the £50 on
(Mr Zaiwalla) I will tell you why: because before
I came just now I read the papers which you sent mepapers
which the Chairman sent meand there is a letter from me
to the Commissioner.
653. This is the 14 February letter, is it?
(Mr Zaiwalla) This is the 10 July letter, page 280,
something like this (indicating). This is after
a search which Mr Hodgson, the present bookkeeper, took for going
up to 1991. There was a payment of £250 to Keith Vaz's constituency
office, and a payment of £200 to Wildberry. It was made directly
to Wildberry, but on the book there was an aide-memoire "Keith
Vaz", and therefore I thought it was proper to disclose it.
This was something which I had not disclosed, I did not know about
it, but after a thorough search we found it out and it was voluntarily
654. Is there a possibility that there are two
sums of £1,000?
(Mr Zaiwalla) No, none whatsoever.
655. I wanted to ask about your definition of
"charity". When you talk about charity, do you mean
a formally constituted charity such as Save the Children or Dr
Barnardo's, or do you give it a wider meaning?
(Mr Zaiwalla) The honest answer is that for the purpose
of this I would give a wider meaning. In 1993, I would not have
inquired into a Cyclone Appeal Fund or a relief fund if I had
to contribute, say, £500 or £1,000, if the newspapers
or somebody organised it. If I knew who was the person behind
it, I would not check whether it was a charity or not. I would
consider that it was a charity. What you mean is that was it a
656. Yes. I understand that very recently there
has been a number of ad hoc charities that have grown up as a
result of the recent earthquake and people with lots of money
tell me that it may not be a charity. Have you any experience
(Mr Zaiwalla) It is possible, but I have no personal
experience. I have a busy practice and I have a lot of interaction
with the Asian community. I had much more then than now, but I
would not get myself into the nitty-gritty of it.
657. I do not have experience but is it the
case that within the Asian community generally "charity"
would have a wider meaning? I simply do not know.
(Mr Zaiwalla) It would be fair to say that there are
possibilities of fraud where people hold themselves out as representing
charities which are not charities. Therefore, I am very reluctant
to make any donation unless I know the person behind it. If it
comes from a Member of Parliament who says, "Donate to this
charity", I would presume that it was pukka. I get lots of
letters and I would simply not make any donation.
658. One or two of the early payments were made
out to Mr Keith Vaz, I believe. Is that right?
(Mr Zaiwalla) Not to Keith Vaz; Keith Vaz's constituency
659. Can you be more precise about that? What
do you mean by "Keith Vaz's constituency office"? Who
is the payee?
(Mr Zaiwalla) It is a question to which I had not
addressed myself. I would expect that there would be a constituency
office account and the payee would be not him personally but the
office account. For example, this cheque of £250 or £200
was made out to the constituency office.