Letter to Mr Keith Vaz MP from the Parliamentary
Commissioner for Standards
As I said when I wrote to you on 11 October I am
writing to you to give you an opportunity to respond to questions
which are outstanding or to provide some clarification. May I
begin by reminding you again that I have never received a letter
from you dated 6 August. Please send me a copy.
May I first answer your letters of 9 and 15 October
2001. The numbers refer to your numbered paragraphs.
92,93 Miss Eggington's alleged contact with your
mother, Mrs Vaz Senior
I am concerned to hear from your letter of 9 October
2001 that your mother may have had an unwanted telephone call
from someone purporting to be acting on my behalf and that she
believed the caller to be Miss Eggington. I am making enquiries
about this matter and I am also pursuing the complaints made by
Miss Eggington and Mrs Gresty.
Please would you provide the following details for
(a) The time and date
the call was received.
(b) What was said during the call by both parties.
In particular, what specific remarks by the caller to your mother
led her to believe that the caller was Miss Eggington and that
she was speaking on my behalf?
(c) The time and date your mother informed you
of the call and what she said to you about it.
(d) Did either you or your mother make any note
or other record of these conversations (ie that between the caller
and your mother and that between your mother and you)? If so,
please may I have a copy?
(e) When and to whom in the police service you
reported the call. Please provide a telephone number.
(f) Whether you have asked for the call to be
traced and if so the results of the trace. If you have not asked
for a trace I would be grateful if you would do so and let me
know the result.
I hope your mother is soon discharged from hospital.
Other points raised in your letter of 9 October
94. I have informed you that journalists have
provided information to this inquiry and I have put to you for
comment any such information which I consider relevant once I
have satisfied myself by checking such information with others.
95. I cannot comment on inaccurate headlines
to articles in newspapers nor on allegations of corruption to
which they refer. I suggest you make enquiries of the journalists
concerned if you feel it necessary.
96. I have replied to the points you made in
your paragraphs 34 and 89 in my letters of 27 September and 11
97. Any information concerning the University
of Bournemouth should be sent to Mr Noel Richardson, The Registrar,
Bournemouth University, Studland House, 12 Christchurch Road,
Bournemouth, BH1 3NA (tel. ***) who tells me he will be happy
to provide you with the background to the case in question should
you need it.
Your letter of 15 October 2001
98. With reference to your letter of 15 October
2001 I have not overlooked your questions at 87 and 31. As I am
sure you will understand I provide no information to any party
involved in an inquiry while the inquiry is in progress. When
I provide you with a copy of my draft memorandum for comment and
correction any relevant interview with any person will be detailed
I now turn to the matters on which I need further
information or on which you may wish to comment.
A. Employment in the Leicester Law Centre
I understand your view that Mr Robathan's complaint
is now out of time. I have explained the Committee's view on complaints
which concern matters which are more than seven years old. It
will be for the Committee to decide whether they pursue this matter
in the light of the information I provide to them.
I would therefore be grateful if you would give me
the following information, as previously requested:
On what date did your employment with
the law centre formally cease and, if different, what was the
date up to which you were paid?
(a) You say in relation to Vanburgh Court:
"I have no personal
knowledge of who was registered there when I was not in occupation,
but I confirm that I received no rent. I continued to use this
property as a second home."
I am having difficulty in understanding this answer.
Could you please tell me:
(i) whether the people
registered to vote at your Vanburgh Court address were living
there with your authority; if so, what was the basis of the arrangement
and how can you maintain that you do not know who they are?
(ii) if the people concerned were not living
at your Vanburgh Court address with your authority, on whose authority
were they there and what was the basis of the arrangement?
(iii) how frequently did you use the Vanburgh
Court address as a second home and how did this fit in with its
occupation by the other people registered to vote there?
(iv) did you receive any benefit of any kind
in lieu of rent from any of the people registered at the Vanburgh
(b) So far as the transfer of Vanburgh Court
to your mother is concerned:
(i) what was the purpose
and legal effect of the transfer?
(ii) what is meant by 'beneficial owner' and
what was your own legal status in relation to the property a)
before and b) after the transfer?
(iii) what determined the precise timing of the
(c) You may feel that the cumulative effect
of your individual answers deals with this point, but nevertheless
could you please confirm for the record that you have now provided
me with complete information about all your property interests,
in the UK or elsewhere, during the time you have been a Member
C. The Into Leadership Conference
Mrs Pauline Elizabeth (Liz) Williams told me that
an event involving yourself and your wife took place at the New
Connaught Rooms on 23rd June 1999. This is confirmed, at least
as far as you are concerned, by an Office of Public Service press
release which announces that you organised and spoke at the Into
Leadership Conference there on that day. This press release gives
a telephone number which relates to Coleridge House, 4/5 Coleridge
Gardens, London NW6 (currently the address of the Asian Business
The Connaught Rooms confirmed that the event had
been booked for the Asian Business Network by 'Mr Hanif Pathan',
giving the address of Coleridge House, 3/5 Coleridge Gardens London
NW6. This address also appears for registration purposes on the
Mrs Pauline Elizabeth (Liz) Williams, who worked
for you as a volunteer in your Leicester office from April 1999
to January 2000, has provided me with information about the Conference,
including the fact that you were involved in the organisation
to the extent of briefing staff on their responsibilities. She
further told me that she herself worked at the Conference and
confirms that 'Mr Pathan' (to whom she also refers as 'Hanif Pathan',
describing him as director of events and communications) had overall
responsibility, booking the rooms and receiving cheques at your
Leicester office (photocopies of which cheques he then asked her
to file). Mrs Williams provided me with a list of the telephone
numbers of your Leicester office staff which included a mobile
phone number for 'Hanif' which is the same as that we have for
Mr Mohammed Pathan, Ms Maria Fernandes's co-director of Mapesbury
When I interviewed Mr Mohammed Pathan together with
Ms Maria Fernandes on 2 July 2001, I suggested to him that Mapesbury
Communications (which was in the business of organising events)
had booked the New Connaught Rooms for the Asian Business Network
and he expressed ignorance of the event. The exchange ran as follows:
"Ms Filkin: Mapesbury Communications
booked an event at the New Connaught Rooms on 23 June 1999 for
the Asian Business Network. Did you book that event?
Mr Pathan: Sorry, say that again.
Ms Filkin: I believe that Mapesbury
Communications booked an event at the New Connaught Rooms on 23
June 1999 for the Asian Business Network. I was asking whether
you were involved in booking that event?
Mr Pathan: No, nothing I know about, no.
The event, no."
In view of these discrepancies I would be grateful
if you would let me know
(a) whether Mr Pathan
was responsible for organising the Into Leadership Conference;
and if so, was this on your instructions, or with your authority?
(b) whether you were aware while Mr Pathan was
working for you of his connection with either Mapesbury Communications
or the Asian Business Network?
(c) who collected the cheques for the event,
into which account they were paid and was your office used to
receive and process these cheques?
(d) how much was raised by the event?
(e) what you know about Coleridge House, and
in particular if you have attended meetings there?
(f) if you know a Mr David Barnes, and, if so,
in what capacity?
(g) if you know a Mr David Golding, and, if
so, in what capacity?
(h) whether you have organised any other events
for the Asian Business Network since May 1997, and if so please
D. The Asian Business Network
At my request the journalists Chris Hastings and
Rajeev Syal of the Sunday Telegraph have provided me with information.
They provided information (from the BT website) that until February
2001 the Asian Business Network was registered from 70a Teignmouth
Road London NW2, which was also the registered address of Mapesbury
Communications until 3rd June 1999. You have confirmed that you
owned 70a Teignmouth Road from 1993 until 1997 and that it was
Your entries in the Register of Members' Interests
in 1999 and 2000 state that you were honorary (unpaid) president
of the Network. In view of the address given for it, however,
I would be grateful if you would let me know:
your relationship to the Network? If
you were not actively involved in its work, can you suggest why
it should be registered at your home address?
I also understand that your involvement with the
Asian Business Network extended to having a "conference hotline"
installed in the Parliamentary Building, Norman Shaw North (number
* * *) and that you wrote to various companies (including Taylor
Woodrow, Motorola and Camelot) inviting support. I would be grateful
if you would let me know -
(a) whether you had
an additional telephone line installed in your office at Norman
Shaw North; and, if so, for what purpose?
(b) whether and over what period you were actively
involved in seeking contributions to the Asian Business Network?
(c) to whom any resulting cheques were made
out, who collected them and into which account they were paid;
at which bank; and who were the authorised signatories on the
E. Miss Laura Coco
The Register of Members' staff shows Miss Laura Coco
as a member of your staff from December 1998 to July 1999. When
I interviewed Mr Pathan on 4th July he said that "he [the
late Mr Mahmoud] must have employed someone to do the some work,
to do secretarial work or something". I asked "Can you
remember who these people were?" and he replied "I wrote
down something, Laura Coco as an employee".
Can you tell me whether Miss Coco worked for you
before or after she worked for Mapesbury Communications, or whether
these two employments were simultaneous? Please provide me with
her address and telephone numbers.
F. Wildberry Printers
On 13 February 2001, when you were giving evidence
to the Committee on Standards and Privileges, Mr Bottomley asked
"Returning to the advertisement payments
[by Mr Zaiwalla], I think it is a matter of record that this was
made to a company called Wildberry?"
Mr Bottomley further asked
"Is it agreed that Wildberry were the printers
who were doing the calendars?"
"I do not know, I am sorry, it was such a
long time ago".
Companies House has provided me with the information
that the directors of Wildberry were Mrs Merlyn Vaz, your mother,
and Mr Paul John Townsend (living in 1996 at 18 Elthorne Park
Road, Hanwell, London W7). I see from the electoral registers
that a Paul Townsend, together with Valerie Vaz, has been registered
to vote at 153 Scraptoft Lane, Leicester, since 1995-96, and I
had understood him to be your brother-in-law, or the partner of
your sister. In the light of this, would you please let me know
if Mr Townsend, the former director of Wildberry, has or has had
any family connection with you?
G. General Mediterranean Holdings
You replied to my enquiries about this directorship
in your letter of 28 September 2001. As you suggested, I have
checked your correspondence with the then Registrar. A Register
entry was made on 19 May 1999 and you requested its removal on
20 May 1999 as you had resigned the directorship. This entry did
not appear in a published version of the Register.
I have also seen you are listed as a director of
the company for 1998 and 1999 in the Annual Reports of the Company
(see Annual Report of General Mediterranean Holdings SA, UK Holdings
Company for 1998 and the Annual Report of Compagnie Internationale
de Participations Bancaires et Financiers (CIPAF), General Mediterranean
Holdings (UK) for 1999).
I have also been informed that you were a director
in years prior to the publication of those reports.
Please would you let me know:
(i) The date on which
it was proposed to you that you should be a director?
(ii) The date on which a formal offer of a directorship
(iii) The proposed remuneration terms?
(iv) The date on which you accepted the offer?
(v) From the information I hold there appears
to have been a gap between the offer and acceptance. If this is
correct, please explain the gap.
(vi) Whether you have received any benefits of
any kind, at any time, associated in any way with Mr Auchi, the
Chairman of General Mediterranean Holdings or any other associated
company. In particular, have you received any benefit from Tucan
You asked me for a possible timetable. As soon as
I receive a comprehensive response to this letter I should be
able to give you an estimated timetable. I look forward to concluding
my report as soon as possible.
19 October 2001