Letter to the Clerk of the Committee on
Standards and Privileges from Ms Maria Fernandes
Thank you for your letter of the 23rd January 2001
which I received today.
In your letter you refer to a letter from Mrs Filkin
dated 22nd January which was only received on 23rd January 2001.
I hope that you will appreciate that it was not possible to reply
to Mrs Filkin's letter before I received your letter.
As I and the company are not parties to these proceedings
I would be pleased to receive an answer to the following questions:
1. Who has made a complaint or allegation about
this company? Mrs Filkin has not informed me of any.
2. What evidence has been produced to support
this complaint or allegation? Mrs Filkin has not sent me any.
3. Would you kindly supply a copy of your agreed
procedures for dealing with third parties and the circumstances
in which you request information from them. Mrs Filkin has not
sent me such a document.
Notwithstanding the above and in order to assist
the Committee in any way I can my answers to you questions are
1. The purpose of the establishment of the company
was explained to Sir Gordon Downey in a letter from Mr Vaz to
him a copy of which was set to the Board. I do not have a copy
of this letter to hand but can obtain a copy if you wish. The
objects of the company are as stated in its Articles and Memorandum.
The company is a publishing and public relations company. It ceased
to assist with the publication of the calendars in 1996 for the
reasons set out in my letter to Mrs Filkin of 18th January 2001.
In 1996 it went on to pursue its commercial activities.
2. The accounts for the period when it dealt
with Mr Vaz's calendars are lodged at Companies House and available
for public inspection. I do not have any further information on
this, this matter goes back 8 years. However it is apparent from
the calendars themselves who the advertisers are. Mr Vaz's calendars
project manager the late Raihan Mahmoud dealt with these issues
with the then company secretary.
3. As far as I am aware no publication by the
company other than what is stated above (the calendars) contains
the words "Keith Vaz". As I have said previously we
have only dealt with the calendars for Mr Vaz. The calendars made
a loss and did not benefit the company.
4. The full accounts are available at Companies
House. As the secretary is currently in hospital undergoing treatment
for cancer, I have asked the accountant who prepared the audited
accounts to look through the accounts and let me have a certificate
as to any benefits from this company to Mr Vaz. I will forward
this to you as soon as I receive it. I have asked him to do this
5. In the meantime if there is any payment in
or out of the company which the Committee feels is improper or
questionable, or has any concerns about I will ask the company
accountant to look into the matter and produce a report or an
explanation. Please let me know which transaction Mrs Filkin
has concerns about, because in her two letters to me she has not
identified any. However I must make it clear that the Board
has a duty to ensure the confidentiality of its clients who have
nothing to do with this inquiry.
6. As far as any further disclosure is concerned,
I would not wish to do anything improper in respect of my duties
as a director, just because the subject of Mrs Filkin's inquiries
happens to be my husband. The reputation of this company has already
been damaged by an inaccurate newspaper article, you will have
seen my correspondence with Mrs Filkin on this point.
7. It would greatly assist me if you could supply
me with any precedent concerning disclosure by a third party of
information where there has been no complaint about that third
Finally may I repeat to you: Mr Vaz has neither been
a shareholder nor a director of the company. Neither he nor his
office have received any personal benefit from it. Since 1996
neither he nor his project managers have had dealings with this
I hope this assists you. I am sending a copy of this
letter to the company solicitor.
24 January 2001