Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witness (Questions 760 - 779)



  760. I hope you appreciate why some of us find this rather difficult. You were just giving this money without verifying who the people were; that they were bona fide representatives of the charity or the disaster appeal?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) I appreciate that, in a perfect world, yes, but in the context of running a busy practice and getting on with it, no.

  761. If I were running a busy practice, I would be more careful about where that money was going because it was not drawn on a personal account, was it? It was drawn on an office account. Obviously your auditors would check your books.
  (Mr Zaiwalla) Yes. We must have taken a receipt.

  762. During this occasion when the money was given to the two representatives, would Mr Brown have been present and heard you talking to these people? Would he have seen these two gentlemen?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) Yes, he would.

  763. Would he possibly have overheard any conversations you may have had with these gentlemen, perhaps mentioning Mr Vaz's money?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) Possibly (overheard my conversation). I cannot say with any degree of accuracy either way.

  764. I want to touch upon the calendar. We have the cheque number. Was it a cheque or cash?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) A cheque paid to Wildberry.

  765. This was in 1994?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) September 1994.

  766. For £200. Was this the Asian business calendar? Was it an advert in that calendar?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) I think it was the constituency calendar.

  767. You sponsored Mr Vaz's personal calendar as a Member of Parliament rather than a business calendar?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) I recall the calendar because it had about 40 or 50 small advertisements. I did not keep the calendar but I thought my firm's name was there.

  768. It was more of a wall chart with adverts round it?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) Yes, just the names.

  769. It was not Mr Vaz's own calendar?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) I don't know.


  770. How long before the payment was made did Mr Vaz solicit your assistance with the donation?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) It must have been at least six months.

  771. It was a long period?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) Yes.

  772. Did he remind you from time to time that you had not paid?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) He phoned up to complain that I had not paid, that the organisers were complaining.

  773. Where was the urgency on that day?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) I do not know.

  774. You accepted there was urgency for some reason?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) Yes.

  775. You did not inquire why?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) No. I knew that I had not paid.

  776. Despite reminders?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) I do not know whether there were reminders or not but I remember Mr Vaz phoning me up when I look back, complaining that I had not paid.

  777. Six months before was the first approach. You cannot remember whether there were subsequent approaches. All you know is six months later it became, for some reason, a matter of urgency presumably, but you are not sure why.
  (Mr Zaiwalla) It must have been before 1 January 1994 because when Mr Milne took over the management of the firm I agreed with him that I would not make any sponsorship payments without mentioning to him. Six months is roughly; I cannot say with any degree of accuracy.

Mr Bottomley

  778. It may be that we have been provided with information showing it is 9 February. We may need to see consistency there. In February last year, you said that you had made the payment of £1,000 for charity and possibly two payments of £500 on the Asian Network payments, but you made no other payments to Keith Vaz. In July, you were able to write to the Commissioner saying that you had shown that there were payments to Wildberry in relation to the calendar which you thought had come as a suggestion from Mr C B Patel and there was a payment of £250 to the office expenses. Is it a simple explanation that in February you had not recalled this?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) I had not recalled that. After February—I might have the dates wrong—I went for an interview with the Commissioner. I gave an undertaking to get my bookkeeper to check back and I think the bookkeeper provided me this information. As soon as it came, I passed it on.

  779. Nobody else has suggested, as far as you know, to her or to anybody else that there had been any other payments. It was you who found them and you who declared them.
  (Mr Zaiwalla) I found them and I declared them.

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