Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Third Report


Annex 67

Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards from Mr Brian Brown

MR TONY BALDRY AND MR KEITH VAZ

  Thank you for your letter dated 11 February 2000.

  I only became aware of your investigation on 9 February when a reporter from the Sunday Telegraph telephoned me at home to inform me that an earlier telephone conversation I had had with one Andrew Milne had been taped and passed to your office. I should at this point tell you that because of certain methods employed by the Sunday Telegraph to coerce a statement from me about events of which I knew absolutely nothing, I declined all invitations to speak to them and that will remain to be the case. I personally believe that the above mentioned Andrew Milne who partially lost a civil action in the High Court brought by Mr Sarosh Zaiwalla last year began a campaign to discredit Mr Zailwalla through media attention. That, of course, may not be of any assistance with your enquiry.

  To address the question asked in your letter, I will say that I was never present at any discussions, meetings or other transactions between Mr Zaiwalla and Mr Baldry. Indeed, as I understand it, allegations relate to 1997 or after and I ceased to be an employee of Mr Zaiwalla in November 1994.

  I do, however, recall that a payment of I think £1,000 was made to Mr Vaz by Mr Zaiwalla for what I seem to recall was described as being for an "office fund". I do not, however, remember the date upon which the payment was made though it was whilst Mr Zaiwalla's practice was housed at 95A Chancery Lane which I suppose makes it prior to May 1994. I have been informed by the Sunday Telegraph reporter that a statement by a third party (whom I assume is Andrew Milne) stated that I was initially requested to hand Mr Vaz a cheque which was refused and the payment was requested in cash which I withdrew from the firm's bank and handed in an envelope to Mr Vaz. This may or may not be the case, I simply cannot be certain though I suspect that it could be the case. I was certainly not involved in any discussions which led to the payment being made nor was I made aware whether the payment was a gift or a loan.

  I trust this reply has been of some use and please feel free to contact me again if you feel I can assist further.

16 February 2000


 
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