Examination of Witness (Questions 580
TUESDAY 6 FEBRUARY 2001
580. Right. Then I only have one other questionbecause
colleagues will want to come inunless you have got anything
to add on that?
(Mr Zaiwalla) No, sir. May I only add, sir, that in
the context in which my commitment was made and I was required
to pay, I had made the payment not to Mr Vaz or his representative,
but to the charity, to people whom I understood to be the representatives
of the charity.
581. And they looked responsible people?
(Mr Zaiwalla) They did not look like people from the
street. I mean, they were I had no reason to suspect them.
582. But you did not know them?
(Mr Zaiwalla) No. They were not people whom I knew
583. The only other question I want to ask is
about the honours recommendation. Did Mr Vaz ever suggest to you
that he might recommend you for an honour?
(Mr Zaiwalla) Never.
584. Never at any time?
(Mr Zaiwalla) Never at all. It is a complete and utter
585. You did not ask him for anything?
(Mr Zaiwalla) No, I did not ask him for anything.
The newspaper journalist tried to trick me into saying that, and
I have always denied that, sir. I would like to say this, sir,
that I have been in Chancery Lane for the last 20 years, and I
would not have survived indeed with the system if I had done anything
which was untoward or wrong. There is one rule which I follow,
which is do everything within the system with probity and never
cross the system. My father was one of the first ever Indians
to qualify as an English solicitor in 1925 and he practised here
for a year from 1925 to 1926, and that is one rule which I have
always insisted on always.
Chairman: Thank you.
586. Mr Zaiwalla, could you possibly have made
a mistake in your memory, in that the monies were for the office
account of Mr Vaz?
(Mr Zaiwalla) No. No.
587. You are absolutely sure?
(Mr Zaiwalla) Absolutely sure.
588. Is it possible that you told Mr Brown that
it was for an office account?
(Mr Zaiwalla) Mr Brown would not have known anything
whatsoever, because Mr Brown was only a bookkeeper and he would
have known nothing whatsoever.
589. Would there be any reason why Mr Brown
might remember it in that way, possibly?
(Mr Zaiwalla) The only possible reason is that Mr
Milne has something on him. That is the other unfortunate thing.
I have been a victim. In the course of running my practice I have
twice been a victim of frauds. Mr Brown was jailed for 4½
years. He admitted, in very odd circumstances, to Mr Milne that
he had stolen £44,000. Subsequently Mr Milne told me that
he had stolen over £750,000. Mr Milne is a personif
I may share this with you, because now I knowwho keeps
things on people, and I have a feeling that Mr Milne probably
has something on Brown.
590. What do you mean by "something on"?
(Mr Zaiwalla) My own feeling isand I say this
with cautionthat Mr Brown probably stole from my office
over £700,000, but he admitted his theft in very strange
circumstances to Mr Milne the day I was away in Paris. I am a
member of the International Court of Arbitration. The day I was
in Paris Mr Milne discovered that he had stolen money and got
a statement from him, before the police were called, in which
he admitted theft totalling £44,000. I suspect that Mr Milne
had done a deal with Mr Brown. We must not forget, sir, if I may
say so, that it is now in public knowledge that Mr Milne in 1992
had gone into bankruptcy of £1.8 million owing to 108 creditors
most of whom were credit card companies. He is a very clever man,
and these are all facts.
591. Can I ask you, when did you last talk to
(Mr Zaiwalla) I last talked to Mr Vaz, just "Hello",
we just shook hands, at the Chinese National Day at the Chinese
Embassy in October 2000. I was surprised, but he came up and said
hello to me and shook hands. I was touched, because I had complained
against Mr Vaz, about his conduct, to the Prime Minister, concerning
a totally different matter where I have got leave to appeal before
an employment appeal tribunal concerning sex discrimination complaint
by a former member of staff who had not been given a training
592. I am sorry, I did not quite hear that.
(Mr Zaiwalla) Sir, this is a completely different
matter. I had formally complained to the Cabinet Secretary and
the Prime Minister, because one of my staff, somebody who had
worked with my firm as a para-legal, took my firm to the employment
tribunal under the Sex Discrimination Act, for sex discrimination,
because she was not given a training contract. At the employment
tribunal hearing, surprise, surprise, the Minister of the Crown,
Mr Vaz, gave evidencehis statement was read outthat
that particular individual was a very fit individual, and if he
was in my place he would have given her a training contract. We
then found out that there was a problem, because there was a copy
from the Lord Chancellor's Department and the Lord Chancellor's
special adviser was involved. The whole thing was very surprising.
Ultimately we applied for leave to appeal, and neither Mr Vaz
nor the Lord Chancellor's Department would give me the information.
I complained formally. I complained to Mrs Elizabeth Filkin first,
and she said she had no powers. I wrote to the Permanent Secretary
of the Lord Chancellor's Department, and then I wrote to the Cabinet
Secretary, as a result of which Mr Vaz's solicitors confirmed
that Miss *** had obtained an office copy from the Lord Chancellor's
file, without his authority, and the matter was closed then.
593. Obviously that does not bear a direct relationship
to our inquiries that are currently taking place. When did you
meet Mr Vaz before that?
(Mr Zaiwalla) Before that, when he was a Minister
I met him. Let me be very accurate. I once met him at a dinner
which the Princess Royal attended.
594. When was that approximately?
(Mr Zaiwalla) That was in the middle of 1999, after
he became a Minister.
595. In other words, you only met Mr Vaz once
(Mr Zaiwalla) I met Mr Vaz No, let me be very
accurate, because I am giving evidence on oath. Last year I met
Mr Vaz once, on Easter Monday.
596. On Easter Monday as well?
(Mr Zaiwalla) Easter Monday of 1999.
597. Last year is 2000.
(Mr Zaiwalla) 2000, Easter Monday last year. In 1999
I met him No, I am so sorry, sir, I also met him at a Chinese
Embassy event in 2000.
598. Have you ever discussed anything relating
to this inquiry with Mr Vaz?
(Mr Zaiwalla) No.
599. Nothing at all to do with any of the issues
that are being raised with Mr Vaz at any stage?
(Mr Zaiwalla) Nothing at all, because our relations
were very cold until In fact, there was a complaint against
Mr Vaz, and our relations were very cold.
2 Note by witness: Last year was Mr Milne's
second bankruptcy. Mr Brown has also been convicted twice and
jailed on two separate occasions. Back