Further memorandum submitted by Mr Keith
1. It has been the practice of the Committee
hitherto that before a Member is examined he or she has the opportunity
to read the final report and its conclusions of the Commissioner.
The first time I saw the final report and conclusions was on the
18 January 2002 (after I gave evidence). Section VI of the Conclusions
is completely new and contains allegations which have never
been put to me.
2. At the end of my evidence session Geoffrey
Bindman made reference to this point and asked that I be sent
a copy of the final report and conclusions. I saw the Chairman
on the 17 January 2002 and he kindly agreed that I should have
an opportunity to put in my response to the new matters. I spoke
to the Clerk that day and he agreed that I should let my mother
see a copy of the 10th January 2002 from Mr Gargan.
3. Plainly some at least of the members of the
Committee were unaware at my examination on 15 January that I
had not seen the final report even though the Sunday Times had
been sent a copy before they published it in an article on 23
December. Not having seen the report I was completely unaware,
for example, that I was required to answer new information that
alleged that I had made a false accusation against a witness to
the investigation (para. 825) or that the police had been asked
by the Commissioner to investigate that allegation, even though
I had originally reported the matter to the police. Consequently
I had no warning that the Committee intended to question me about
this matter nor had I seen the letter from Mr Gargan to Mrs Filkin
dated 10 January 2002 written at her invitation until a copy was
handed to me while I was giving my evidence.
Although she is still ill (I attach with her consent
a letter from her doctor)
my mother was so incensed by what she read and although she is
acting against medical advice she has now written to Mr
Gargan pointing out the serious errors that have been made. She
informs me that she will also write to the Committee.
4. Nor, apart from the report in the Sunday Times
(which I have only now on reading Section VI been able to verify
as accurate was I aware of the extremely serious and utterly false
allegation that "there has been deliberate collusion, over
many months, between Mr Vaz and his wife to conceal this fact"an
alleged link between me and payments made to my wife's firm for
professional services"and to prevent me obtaining
accurate information about his possible financial relationship
with the Hinduja family." I refer to these matters in their
appropriate place below.
Correction of factual errors
5. Having denied me reasonable time to respond
to the mass of new material contained in her draft report Mrs
Filkin completed and submitted it with no regard to the extension
granted by the Committee. Her report therefore has failed to correct
the numerous errors of fact and false inferences which are pointed
out in detail in my representations. Section VI makes new errors
and new allegations which I must now answer. The Clerk informed
me that Mrs Filkin had decided not to alter her final report and
conclusions at all.
6. The procedural defects described above epitomise
the whole approach to Mrs Filkin's investigation and indeed the
previous one. In my preliminary response of 17 December I drew
attention in details to the deficiencies of the previous report
in March 2001. In several respects the present investigation has
been even more deficient. Natural justice was neglected in the
first investigation; in this one it has been thrown to the winds.
Standard of Proof
7. In the first investigation Mrs Filkin had
some regard for the need for proof of allegations of misconduct.
Indeed, she said in her report (para. 27): "..having regard
to the seriousness of the allegations against Mr Vaz, I have decided
to adopt a stricter standard of proof than the balance of probability."
She says nothing about standard of proof in the report
of 13 December. If, as I am prepared to assume, she intended to
apply a similar heightened standard in the preset investigation
she has fallen woefully short of it. If she has applied different
standards to different complaints I am surprised that she has
not said so. Whatever she intended it is surely obvious that the
extremely serious allegations of misleading and collusion require
the very highest standard of proof, which is wholly lacking.
8. I do intend here to labour the many other
defects in the process. I will simply remind the Committee that
I have already drawn attention to Mrs Filkin's failure (at least
before her draft memorandum of 30 November) to identify complaints,
to disclose evidence to support them, to tell me where there were
discrepancies between that evidence and my own evidence. She has,
larded her report with personal attacks on me and any third parties
who seek to give evidence in support of me.
9. Her report goes far beyond her description
of her function in para. 33 of her previous report published in
Appendix 1 of the Committee's Third Report of Session 2000-1:
"my task is to gather information in a non-adversarial
way, both to enable me to build up a complete picture of the facts
and to give the Member against whom the complaint has been made
every opportunity to give his or her full account of the allegation
which have been raised with me." I believe this is a
fair summary of how Mrs Filkin should perform
her task. It does not include forming speculative opinions or
Response to Section VIConclusions
9. I propose to respond by reference to the sub-headings
and paragraph numbers used by Mrs Filkin.
753. Mrs Filkin omits to mention that I had requested
an extension which she in effect refused. I attended at her office
at 8 am on the day but she was not there.
757. The allegations of "obfuscation, prevarication,
evasiveness and delay are a travesty of what in fact occurred,
as a dispassionate reading of the record makes clear. I have dealt
with Mrs Filkin's use of language in my earlier response.
758. This tendentious explanation for the lengthy
pursuit of irrelevant and unnecessary highways and byways by Mrs
Filkin distorts the real reason for the length and complexity
of the investigation, which is Mrs Filkin's failure to follow
her own clear procedures and to confine herself to examining evidence
in support of specific complaints. Instead she has ignored
my protestations and pursued what would in most cases be at worst
trivial and harmless oversights as if they were capital crimes.
She has also taken it upon herself, with no authority that I am
aware of, to initiate her own complaints as if she had a roving
commission to investigate any aspect of a Member's private life.
11. Complaints relating to matters covered
by the previous investigation
768. The term "handing over" is misleading
because it implies that I had something to "hand over".
As I have made clear the company,though I was instrumental
in setting it up, was not "mine" and my involvement
after its acquisition was limited to the calendar project which
has been endlessly explained. It is nonsense to say I should have
mentioned the payment of the expenses of the Vaswani lecture because
I was unaware of it, it did not concern me, and I received no
benefit from it as Mrs Filkin has accepted.
769. This is an important paragraph because at
the same time it illustrates Mrs Filkin's unbalanced and often
illogical approach to her task and contains gross errors of fact.
She says "I am not convinced by the reason given by Mr Vaz
for his inability to provide me with the information I had requested
from him." This suggests that the burden of proof is on me
to disprove allegations which Mrs Filkin plainly must prove and
which are so serious that a very high standard of proof is demanded.
Her statement that it is not credible that I was
unaware of the work in respect of "Hinduja-related immigration
issues" which my wife was engaged on in her legal practice
is an opinion based on misconceptions of the facts which are evidenced
in her interview with G P and S P Hinduja (annex i14), the schedule
of transactions with my wife's firm apparently provided to them
on the day of that interview, 2 July 2001, (annex i25) and the
comparison prepared by Mrs Filkin of interventions and invoices
(annex i30). In the interview Mr G P Hinduja says he did not know
my wife well and that "the head of our legal department is
the one who had known her as an expert on immigration". He
then refers to the four transactions done by my wife through their
legal department. He says: "you had referred in your letter
so I thought it was our duty to see what it was." He then
refers to the matters listed in annex i25. The reasonable inference
from the transcript of the interview (especially pages 24 and
25) is that the two Hinduja brothers were not personally involved
in giving any instructions to my wife's firm, but having been
alerted to the possibility by Mrs Filkin, they then looked into
the matter and obtained and provided the relevant information
to her. The list in annex i25 shows that none of the four cases
has anything whatsoever to do with the matters investigated by
Sir Anthony Hammond KCB QC, and there is nothing in the table
in annex i30 to suggest that I had any knowledge of any of the
four cases referred to in annex i25. The references in i30 to
Mrs Ahmed otherwise known as Matin, are totally irrelevant. She
was not connected to the Hindujas in any way whatsoever.
The last three sentences in this paragraph of the
Commissioner's report are unfounded assertions and opinions.
774. There is no evidence whatsoever to support
the extremely serious and grossly irresponsible allegation of
"deliberate collusion". By formulating this allegation
as a conclusion Mrs Filkin again demonstrates her readiness to
make findings of fact without regard to the need for evidence.
779. The last sentence in the quoted paragraphs
from the Commissioner's previous report is another glaring example
of a conclusion of fact reached without evidence.
785. This paragraph is extraordinary. The only
matter on which Mrs Filkin received any complaint that I had received
unregistered benefits from Mapesbury related to the payment by
the Hinduja Foundation of the expenses of the Vaswani lecture.
There is no evidence or even suggestion of any other benefit by
anyone but the Commissioner. In the absence of any evidence that
I have benefited from Mapesbury in any way I strongly believe
that am entitled to expect the Committee to reject the complaint.
To conclude "inquiries incomplete" is to ignore any
obligation to satisfy the burden of proof or any standard of proof.
Law Centre Complaint
Mrs Filkin has altered the complaint between draft
and final report. In the draft she refers to me being employed
by Leicester City Council.
786. To regard the evidence that I continued
to be employed for several months by the Leicester Law Centre
after my election to Parliament as "compelling" is a
travesty. I received payments which were my entitlement in respect
of the period when I had worked prior to the election. This was
as I have said before holiday pay, and flexi time I continued
to be paid on that basis. If I had received payment after the
election for work done before the election I presume this would
not be registrable. I was not employed to take on and deal with
new work as I had already started as a Member of Parliament working
full time. If I had received payments for new work then I would
have registered them. The evidence is simply insufficient to uphold
the complaint on any acceptable standard of proof.
Complaints relating to matters more than seven
788. I fail to understand why Mrs Filkin did
not ask the Committee whether the complaint should be looked into
before embarking on an investigation. It seems obvious
that the Committee applying its rule as stated in this paragraph
could not conceivably have permitted it.
797. This paragraph is perverse and there is
no justification for the claim that inquiries are incomplete.
I have assured both the Commissioner and the Committee that I
have given a full and complete account of all my property interests
and have registered all registrable interests. I did so on the
17 December 2001, on the 8 January 2002 and again in evidence
on the 15 January 2002. Her schedule however still has inaccuracies
and I have pointed these out.
11. Complaints not related to or arising directly
from the previous investigation
Mrs Matin's Passport
801. This paragraph accurately summarises the
evidence as to whether it has been proved that I employed Mrs
Matin. There is no hard information supporting the allegation.
My wife and I and Mrs Matin have denied it. On that basis there
is no justification for claiming that inquiries are incomplete
in relation to that allegation and I invite the Committee to reject
802. The Committee has been made aware by the
correspondence on pages 2 to 7 of the appendix to my preliminary
observations of 17 December 2001 that Mrs Gresty through her lawyer
threatened employment tribunal proceedings against my wife and
sought to persuade her to settle by warning of public embarrassment
to her and to me. It is apparent that Mr Gresty or Mrs Eggington
or Mrs Gresty herself denied that employment tribunal proceedings
were contemplated. The Commissioner should in fairness re-consider
her assessment of the credibility of the Grestys in the light
of this and in particular her view that her they were "truthful
and without malicious motivation".
805. I have made it abundantly clear that I did
not keep Mrs Matin's passport at my Leicester office and her solicitor,
Jane Coker, who is unfairly criticised for delay, has confirmed
that Mrs Matin does not claim that I did so.
Mr Peene's complaint
811. This is simply untrue as an examination
of the file will make clear and has no place in the report.
812. It is another of the many examples of the
Commissioner resorting to personal abuse instead of sticking to
816. Mr Sackville and Mr Kennady claimed no personal
knowledge of my payments to me and their "evidence"
is no more than rumour. Their credibility is neither here nor
there since they have no relevant evidence to give.
817. Contrary to Mrs Filkin's statement it is
not in the least surprising that documentary evidence is not available
to show that I did not receive any payment I believe there
is evidence of only one publication in which my name appeared
inaccurately claiming me as a non-executive director. This was
obviously an error. Once again there is no justification for Mrs
Filkin to claim her inquiries are incomplete. Mr Auchi and the
company answered Mrs Filkin's questions categorically in writing.
What would be the point of her meeting him? I invite the Committee
to dismiss this complaint.
819. Again Mrs Filkin uses the word "disingenuous"
on no evidential basis. I have given my explanation on this matter
and cannot add to it. There is nothing secret about my relationship
with Lord Paul, which is in any event not based on my membership
of the House.
12. Pressure and Harassment
823. This paragraph fails to point out that my
mother was very ill and that it was for this reason only that
she could not be interviewed at that time. My mother has indicated
that she is to write to the police and to the Committee with her
views. Nor does it indicate what "information was received
by the police which satisfied them that my mother could not have
received a call from Miss Eggington. Evidently the conclusion
was reached before any hearing on my mother's account of the matter
and based entirely on Mrs Filkin's conversation with the police,
her views on the credibility of Miss Eggington, her views on the
state of the inquiry and after having spoken to Miss Eggington
and Mrs Gresty together. Neither I nor my mother authorised this
course of action indeed if I had done so without express consent
from the victim some would have accused me of harassment.
824. I accept that my conversation with Mrs Filkin
on 23 November 2001 became rather heated. I was naturally upset
by my belief that my mother was being harassed by people connected
to the inquiry who had as it turned out also approached other
witnesses in the investigation. The Committee is doubtless aware
that Miss Eggington is not even a witness to any fact relevant
to any of the allegations against me. She is merely a supporter
and representative of Mrs Gresty. Yet Mrs Filkin has involved
herself in the matter of the phone call to my mother even to the
extent of accusing me (in paragraph 826) of making an untrue allegation
when I had no evidence to suggest it might be true and a "gross
attack on the integrity and reputation of a member of the public
assisting in a parliamentary inquiry".
The evidence on which I based my request for advice
to the police was that my mother had told me that she had received
a telephone call from a woman called Eggington claiming to be
speaking on behalf of Mrs Filkin. I was very concerned about the
possibility of involvement of the Eggington/Gresty duo in my mother's
life. As she did not know the name Eggington she could hardly
have made it up. I have still seen no evidence that Mrs Eggington
did not make the call though I accept that it is possible as she
claims that someone was impersonating her.
Phone Call or Calls
825. Whatever any police officer may say it is
not true that I reported that Miss Eggington had made several
calls to my mother. I note that the statement appears in a
report by Chief Inspector Smith (annex IV8) dated 22 November
but in the same paragraph he goes on to say "during the call"
so there was evidently some confusion in his mind. In her earlier
report dated 8 October in the same annexe there is a similar inconsistency.
He says in his fifth paragraph that I claimed Miss Eggington had
made several calls but in the seventh paragraph he refers to "the
alleged phone call to Mrs Vaz". Indeed let us look at K P
Smith's own words to my mother on the 10 December 2001 (which
I attach with my mother's permission) the only written communication
between the police any member of my family. It is headed "suspicious
phone call4 October 2001 and it begins
"I am writing concerning a report which was
made by your son Mr Keith Vaz regarding a suspicious call
which was made to you address on or around the 4 October 2001".
This is inconsistent with Mr Gargan's letter of the 10 January
2002 which talks about calls. I only spoke about one
call as the Inspector's own letter confirms.
There is a further problem with the correspondence
from the police all of which seem to be in response to calls from
Mrs Filkin. In the letter of 12th December 2001 CI Smith says
he received a call from Mrs Filkin on the 29th November 2001 (the
very day she was writing her memorandum,) but later in the same
letter he says in the light of the new information I contacted
Mr Vaz on the morning of 22nd November. There must be a mistake
here Mr Smith appears to have contacted me 7 days before he received
the new information.
It is clear that Mrs Filkin was giving information
about the inquiry and what she was investigating to the police
it is also clear from the correspondence that when the two officers
met Ms Eggington and Mrs Gresty together (these ladies have never
been seen separately either by Mrs Filkin or anyone else) Ms Eggington
handed them information about the inquiry (see note from Mr Smith).
It is not at all surprising therefore that having received all
their information from Mrs Filkin and the alleged perpetrator
of the call the views expressed in the letter of 10th January
2002 were to say the least based on one side's story.
Sadly the fact that the police visited the hospital
and were turned away by the consultant while my mother was in
intensive care was not reported to anyone in any correspondence.
This incident was told to my mother today (21st January 2002)
by her consultant.
The bizarre chain of events needs carefully scrutiny.
However one thing is clear I did not at any time ask that the
police go and interview anyone thus the accusation of "intimidation"
is groundless. I always maintained in accordance with the usual
practice that the victim herself who should decide with the police
how to proceed and that they should do no more than they would
do for any other member of the public.
It should also be noted that on the second page of
the note dated 8 Octoberprobably this page really belongs
to the note dated 22 NovemberMr Smith refers to a call
on 20 November to him from Mrs Filkin in which she is said to
have informed him that she was conducting an inquiry into "my
activities" and that "a Mrs Eggington was a major witness
in that enquiry". Yet Mrs Filkin knows that she is not a
witness and has carefully described her otherwise in paragraph
826. I am at a loss to know why she is telling the police something
826. To conclude my comments on this matter may
I express my surprise on seeing the letter from Mr Gargan dated
10 January when it was handed to me during my examination by the
Committee on 15 January. After receiving medical clearance my
mother has now written to Mr Gargan pointing out the serious errors
in his letter. Given the tone and content of paragraph 826 I cannot
help thinking that such an extraordinary consequence of my pursuing
in good faith what I believe to be an act of harassment of my
mother is not unrelated to the intervention of Mrs Filkin on behalf
of Ms Eggington. The correspondence does not show what contact
Mrs Filkin and Ms Eggington had during this period perhaps we
shall never really know the truth of what went on. The police
rightly rejected her invitation to conclude that I had anything
to do with wasting any time.
831. It is patently absurd to suggest that legal
proceedings begun by Mrs Fernandes after the Mail on Sunday article
on 3rd June is "inappropriate". Ms Fernandes informed
Mrs Filkin of these on 4th July and Mrs Filkin made no objection.
Ms Eggington and Mrs Gresty were both written to after this article
appeared and did not on that occasion let Mrs Filkin know of them.
It was only in November that they did so. Is she seriously suggesting
that no legal action can be taken over a defamatory statement?
If she is then she is saying precisely the opposite of what the
Chairman has said on the subject of litigation.
13. Allegations that I may have misled or
sought to obstruct the Committee or Mrs Filkin
832. This paragraph contains no evidence of misleading
833. I have dealt with the first allegation at
length in my response of 8 January. As to the second I absolutely
deny that I have "avoided" answering questions fully.
Mrs Filkin plainly implies that I have deliberately concealed
information which I knew or believe to be relevant to her investigation.
This has never been the case and she has produced no evidence
to support so serious an allegation she merely asserts it. She
knows every conceivable detail about my property interests. She
knows I have never held Mrs Matin's passport and has never explained
why I would have been wrong to do so if I had held it. My "relationships"
with Mapesbury, Wildberry and the Asian Business Network have
been explained ad nauseam.
834. This is an extraordinary and disgraceful
paragraph. The first sentence is completely untrue. It rests on
the three points set out in paragraph 751 as to which:
I believed honestly and with good reason
that Mr Peene, who had left the DTI, had ceased to be a civil
servant at the time of the meeting. I did not know that his current
job was also in the civil service. Nothing turns on this point.
I have set this out in my response on 8th January.
It has now been conclusively demonstrated
that Mrs Gresty was involved in planning and threatening an industrial
tribunal case against my wife. I have sent detailed correspondence
to illustrate this.
I fail to see how referring to Mrs Gresty's
ill health, which is sadly indisputable, can be said to be inaccurate.
I certainly questioned her credibility and am entitled to do so.
The irony of this statement was that it was Mrs Filkin herself
who asked for details of Mrs Gresty's mental illness. The Baker
Street incident when Mrs Gresty was arrested is documented for
the first time in the letter from Mr Smith to Mrs Filkin.
836. This conclusion is false and is not supported
by any credible evidence. The final words "complaint upheld"
are incomprehensible. What complaint has been upheld? And where
is the evidence these are just a collection of statements. If
the Committee believes there is a complaint it must surely reject
21 January 2002 Keith
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