Letter to the then Chairman of the Committee
on Standards and Privileges, from Ms Maria Fernandes
Thank you for your letter of 20th March 2001. I also
refer to the letter from Mr Sandall. I understand that the information
you have requested concerning the event on 6th July 1995 has already
been supplied. I have no personal knowledge of this matter.
Can I reconfirm that two chartered accountants who
have had conduct of these matters have stated that neither Mr
Vaz or his office has received a benefit from this company. When
we met on 15th February I did ask several times if there were
any particular payment that caused the Committee concern. You
asked specifically for details of any payments by Mr Zaiwalla
and I swore an affidavit confirming that there were none.
The list I showed you, as I explained to you, was
constructed without the benefit of invoices or papers, but based
on the filed accounts of company's house, copies of which you
and the committee have, my recollection and that of former staff
members who were associated with it over the last 5 years. After
taking legal advice, I consider it proper that client confidentiality
be preserved. I intend to work with some of these clients again,
and sadly as can be seen by the hounding of myself, and my family
since the Committee published its Report the current climate does
not dispose itself to anything remaining confidential.
The Committee's Report states that "there were
no accounts". This is not correct. Accounts were filed at
Companies House in accordance with statutory requirements. The
company has always taken independent professional advice and acted
There are no additional papers which I or anyone
else holds other than what has been sent to the Committee. I have
reconfirmed this position. The issue of dissolution has only arisen
because of the disproportionate amount of time I have spent on
these matters, and a number of other factors some of which you
are aware of. Any papers will be preserved, although of course
you will appreciate that I cannot preserve what I do not have.
On the issue of VAT payments I have asked the accountants to prepare
a list of these and any information that has been sent to the
This has been a very difficult period for me. I have
assisted the Committee as best as I can , by attending as a witness,
answering questions, and providing information. A quarter of the
company's assets have been spent on professional advice to assist
the inquiry. I have given the Committee all that is in my knowledge
* * *.
May I finally summarise the position:
1. Two chartered accountants have unequivocally
certified that neither Mr Vaz nor his office has benefited from
2. The company filed its accounts in accordance with statutory
3. The accounts were prepared on an annual basis.
4. The receipts and invoices were not available. I agreed
to show you a list prepared from my recollection, and that of
former members of staff.
5. The current inquiry is about Mr Lansley's complaint concerning
the Hinduja Foundation. I have no personal information about this,
any information has already been supplied.
If you have any specific information which casts
doubt on any of the points raised above regarding this company,
and, and I reiterate, I did ask this both at the evidence session
and when we met, I would be happy to help if it is within my knowledge.
20 April 2001