Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witness (Questions 80-99)



  80. For example, if you look at a company or another organisation, it may cease to trade in one name but then start trading again with a slightly different name, like "Wildberry No 1", "Wildberry No 2", "Wildberry No 3"[3].

  (Mr Vaz) You would know that, would you not, because—

  81. That is what I am asking you. Is it possible that this entry in the books relates to a Wildberry in a different manifestation to that we already know about?
  (Mr Vaz) No. This is a good point, Mr Dismore. We did not examine it on the last occasion, but I think that the payment—we had Mr Zaiwalla's cash books in the last inquiry. What it was is the same year that Wildberry was trading, as I understand it. I can look into this.

  82. The cashbook entry is September 1995, which could either refer to a calendar for calendar year 1995 or calendar year 1996, when the bills came in, whether in advance or in arrears. Either way, if you are saying that Wildberry ceased to trade legally by the end of 1994, then the reference to Wildberry from September 1995 can either be a reference to Wildberry still trading although not filing accounts, or to another manifestation of Wildberry under a different name, like Wildberry No 2 or Wildberry No 3 or Wildberry (Leicester) or whatever, or a complete error.
  (Mr Vaz) I do not know of any other Wildberrys , and the only Wildberry that I have - there is another company now trading as Wildberry but it is not anything—to use the least word—"connected" with me.

  83. When did that start?
  (Mr Vaz) I do not know, but I am only getting it from the House of Commons Library. It is easy to get.

  84. Has the current Wildberry got any link with any of your relations?
  (Mr Vaz) No, but I can get you the bits.

Peter Bottomley

  85. If the small calendars were paid for from the Office Costs Allowance, would I be right in thinking that the House of Commons Fees Office would have had records of who the printers were for each one of them, from 1993 onwards?
  (Mr Vaz) Yes, but in this form we have not had the constituency calendars. Yes, they should have[4].

  86. Secondly, and if this is—
  (Mr Vaz) I would have the records of who printed the constituency calendars.

  87. In the early years.
  (Mr Vaz) Which years?

  88. I should have thought going up to 1996. Separate question—and it goes back to the Zaiwalla account that says "Wildberry. K Vaz. Calendar"—if a cheque had been made out by Mr Zaiwalla or his firm to Wildberry in 1995, is there any way we might know where that cheque might have gone into a bank and whose bank account?
  (Mr Vaz) It would only have gone into a bank account for Wildberry, surely. How could it go into any other bank account?

  89. I would agree with you that is the expectation. We have heard that Wildberry, so far as you know, ceased doing anything in 1994.
  (Mr Vaz) According to the records of Companies House.

  90. There is no further information you can offer?
  (Mr Vaz) No. Is there a view that this cheque from Zaiwalla went to me, because the Committee has concluded that it did not.

  Peter Bottomley: I only ask the question.

  Chairman: My impression is that we have got as far as we are going to get.

Mr McNamara

  91. It might be helpful if we could know who were the printers of the large Asian calendars in each year for the three years it was printed[5].

  (Mr Vaz) Sure. The only thing is I think the last living remnants of these calendars are with Mrs Filkin, so I will need to get them off her.

  Chairman: Unless any colleagues want to raise any more questions, can we go on to the Asian Business Network, which, again, may not take a disproportionate amount of time.

Richard Ottaway

  92. Mr Vaz, I think it is agreed that you were the Honorary President of the Asian Business Network and it is agreed that they organised the Into Leadership Conference at the Connaught. Who were the organisers? Which individuals were doing the organising of that conference?
  (Mr Vaz) People who were involved in the Asian Business Network.

  93. Names?
  (Mr Vaz) I think you have some of the names. Mr Pathan was one of them. There were others. I do not remember all. I chaired the whole event though.

  94. Are you aware that in the summer of 1999 Mr Pathan was processing cheques through your Leicester office at the time?
  (Mr Vaz) No, because he did not do this. This was a comment from a volunteer called Pauline Williams, whose credibility I have dealt with and whose file I have put in my annexes. He was not doing that.

  95. Was Mr Pathan acting on your authority?
  (Mr Vaz) No, he is perfectly capable of acting on his own authority. I have had many people who have, as you have, I am sure, Mr Ottaway, worked for me. As I told Mrs Filkin on 21 March he started working for me, he then went off to do other things, and I am very keen to see people, who are either interns or working for me, do paid work and go on and do other things. He is a pretty bright chap.

  96. Did you discuss it with him at all?
  (Mr Vaz) Of course. I chaired the event.

  97. No, the allegations about processing cheques.
  (Mr Vaz) No, I discussed it with Mrs Filkin when she sent me the note from Pauline Williams.

  98. When was the first time this matter was brought to your notice?
  (Mr Vaz) When Mrs Williams spoke to Mrs Filkin as a result of the intervention of a journalist called Carl Fellstrom, and Mrs Williams had a long telephone call from Mrs Filkin. Mrs Filkin put it to me on 30 November. It was not possible to discuss it with her further because the inquiry had closed. I only received it on 30 November. If I had received it earlier I certainly would have done something about it.

  99. What monitoring did you carry out into the sums involved?
  (Mr Vaz) None.

3   Note by witness: I have asked Companies House if any such companies exist. Back

4   Note by witness: I am happy to supply this information to the Committee if it wishes. Back

5   I have asked for this information to be supplied. I have no records on this, but I shall need the calendars. Back

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