Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witness (Questions 740 - 759)



  740. That is about £1,000 and that is perfectly open?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) I cannot deny that. I made out the cheques.

  741. The £1,000 is this payment to the cause and then there was the calendar payment.
  (Mr Zaiwalla) 250.

  742. And something else?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) 200 to the constituency office.

  743. We have not been able to establish where that constituency office payment went to and the calendars I will not discuss with you at the moment. Returning to the charity which should have received and for all I know did receive £1,000, Mr C B Patel, Asian Voice, and Gujarat Samachar, are two magazines?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) One is the Gujarati language and Asian Voice is in the English language.

  744. Is that Mr C B Patel that we may be able to find help from?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) Maybe.

  745. Do you recall discussing with Mr Milne your relationship with Mr Vaz at any time?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) Mr Milne would have known that Mr Vaz and I were friends. That is about all, but I would not discuss any relationship with Mr Milne. Mr Milne was the manager of my practice from 1994 to March 1998, when he was dismissed.

  746. Before you moved offices in about 1994, how many times would you guess Mr Vaz might have come to your offices?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) About twice or three times a year.

  747. For events rather than one to ones?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) Yes. In the Law Society old Council Room. On a couple of occasions I had organised lunch for about 20 people and I would normally have clients, potential clients, a visiting VIP and one or two Members of Parliament on a rotating basis. I would have those events quite frequently as an interaction between various sectors.

  748. After you moved offices until Keith Vaz became minister, would the same pattern have—?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) It became much less. Once Keith became more popular, he did not need my support as much as before.

  749. Your support in meeting people?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) He would meet other people through me. I have always believed in ensuring interaction. My events have always been multicultural. For example, the composition of my firm has always been to ensure that there is no reverse discrimination, so it has always been well balanced.

  750. Why would he have wanted to meet other people? Would this help his work as a Member of Parliament or as a leading British Asian politician?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) That is very difficult to answer. Everybody likes to meet nice people. It is a human trait.

  751. I want to be absolutely certain that, in your view, Keith Vaz knew that the £1,000 was going in cash to a charity because he had known of the event.
  (Mr Zaiwalla) Absolutely.

  752. He knew the payment had been made in cash. You made it in cash and he suggested that rather than these two blokes?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) He never suggested that.

  753. They said they would prefer it in cash.
  (Mr Zaiwalla) Yes.

  754. He said they would come round for payment and whether it was a cheque or cash was not an issue you discussed with him?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) He complained that I had not made the payment. Very often, payment depends on cash flow.

Shona McIsaac

  755. This particular occasion, these two people came to your office. This was on Mr Vaz's recommendation?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) Mr Vaz told me that I had not paid and would I pay the £1,000 for the charity. The representatives of the charity would come and collect it.

  756. We are not clear whether it was a charity or an appeal fund.
  (Mr Zaiwalla) That is right.

  757. These people would have been known to Mr Vaz because he would have nominated them to come to your office?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) I am unable to answer that because I cannot say whether Mr Vaz knew them or not.

  758. You did not do any double checks on their identity when they came to your office?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) No.

  759. You simply gave them the cash?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) Yes. It was my money and I was quite prepared. I was going to give £1,000. Mr Vaz said that the charity would send representatives to me. I discharged my obligation and that is it.

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