101. Since the stated purpose of the annual calendars was
to support Mr Vaz's work with the Asian community, I noted from
Mr Vaz's personal Register file that in 1996 he informed the then
Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards (Sir Gordon Downey) that
he had established a company called Mapesbury Communications Ltd
with the same objectives and that the company would receive his
"income from the Annual Calendar together with all income
I receive from outside Parliament".
102. I therefore wrote to Bindmans on 11 July 2000 (Annex
38), to ask Mr Vaz for information about Mapesbury Communications,
as well as for copies of the accounts for the company from that
103. In his reply of 17 July (Annex 39), Mr Vaz said:
"Mapesbury Communications Limited is a private limited
publishing company. The original purpose of it was set out in
my meetings and correspondence with Sir Gordon [Downey]. After
the calendar project was abandoned, the company continued to trade
with new officers and its own activities. I was neither a shareholder
or director and I derived no personal benefit or income from it.
I do not have the accounts, but you may obtain them from Companies
104. On 18 July I wrote to Mr Vaz (Annex 40) saying that I
assumed that any advertising revenue from the calendars would
have been paid into Mapesbury Communications. I sought Mr Vaz's
confirmation on this point, together with details of how the revenue
105. Having had no reply to my letter of 18 July, I wrote
again to Mr Vaz on 19 October 2000 (Annex 47) to clarify the details
of the company with him. I explained that I had noted from his
letter to my predecessor of 19 January 1996, that he had set up
Mapesbury Communications with the purpose of supporting his work
with the Asian community and that the directors at that time were
his wife and mother-in-law.
106. In the same letter Mr Vaz had informed the then Commissioner
that "as yet no income has been spent from this company on
any parliamentary duties, but I anticipate that it will pay for
publications that cannot be paid by the Fees Officepetrol
payments for members of my staff and equipment such as a computer
or a shredding machine". Sir Gordon replied that since the
Register showed Mr Vaz's income from the calendar, and assuming
that he did not receive any personal income or benefit from Mapesbury
Communications, his present entry "would seem to be satisfactory".
107. Mr Vaz's Register entries have never contained any reference
to Mapesbury Communications.
108. In my letter of 19 October, I asked Mr Vaz to let me
know the date on which he ceased to be involved with Mapesbury
Communications Limited; whether during the period from 1996 to
date he had received any income or benefit from the company; and
whether Mr Vaz and Mr Vaz's mother-in-law remained directors.
I also asked him to confirm that he had never been a shareholder
of the company.
109. In response Mr Vaz told me in a letter from Bindmans,
dated 2 November 2000 (Annex 50), that the purpose of the company
had been fully explained to Sir Gordon Downey; and that he (Mr
Vaz) had already confirmed in his letter to me of 17 July (Annex
39) that he had been neither a shareholder nor a director of the
company and had "received no financial benefit from it."
110. In the light of Mr Vaz's suggestion to that effect, I
obtained from Companies House copies of the annual reports and
accounts for Mapesbury Communications Ltd for the financial years
1995-1996, 1996-1997, 1997-1998, 1998-1999 and the annual report
for 1999-2000. These showed that, throughout this period, Mr Vaz's
mother and his
wife continued to be directors of the company and that his wife,
Ms Maria Fernandes, was the sole shareholder. The records also
show that the company keeps its register of members at Mr Vaz's
London home and that its registered office address is Mrs Vaz
senior's Leicester home.
111. I wrote again to Bindmans on 27 November 2000 (Annex
52) to seek Mr Vaz's comments on this information and, in particular,
how it related to his statement, in the letter from Bindmans of
17 July, that Mapesbury Communications had continued to trade
with new officers
after the calendar project was abandoned.
112. In response, in letters dated 4 and 7 December 2000 (Annexes
53 and 55), Bindmans told me that Mr Vaz was unwilling to answer
any further questions from me but that he was prepared to provide
the Committee with information, if requested by them to do so.