Examination of Witness (Questions 760
TUESDAY 6 FEBRUARY 2001
760. I hope you appreciate why some of us find
this rather difficult. You were just giving this money without
verifying who the people were; that they were bona fide representatives
of the charity or the disaster appeal?
(Mr Zaiwalla) I appreciate that, in a perfect world,
yes, but in the context of running a busy practice and getting
on with it, no.
761. If I were running a busy practice, I would
be more careful about where that money was going because it was
not drawn on a personal account, was it? It was drawn on an office
account. Obviously your auditors would check your books.
(Mr Zaiwalla) Yes. We must have taken a receipt.
762. During this occasion when the money was
given to the two representatives, would Mr Brown have been present
and heard you talking to these people? Would he have seen these
(Mr Zaiwalla) Yes, he would.
763. Would he possibly have overheard any conversations
you may have had with these gentlemen, perhaps mentioning Mr Vaz's
(Mr Zaiwalla) Possibly (overheard my conversation).
I cannot say with any degree of accuracy either way.
764. I want to touch upon the calendar. We have
the cheque number. Was it a cheque or cash?
(Mr Zaiwalla) A cheque paid to Wildberry.
765. This was in 1994?
(Mr Zaiwalla) September 1994.
766. For £200. Was this the Asian business
calendar? Was it an advert in that calendar?
(Mr Zaiwalla) I think it was the constituency calendar.
767. You sponsored Mr Vaz's personal calendar
as a Member of Parliament rather than a business calendar?
(Mr Zaiwalla) I recall the calendar because it had
about 40 or 50 small advertisements. I did not keep the calendar
but I thought my firm's name was there.
768. It was more of a wall chart with adverts
(Mr Zaiwalla) Yes, just the names.
769. It was not Mr Vaz's own calendar?
(Mr Zaiwalla) I don't know.
770. How long before the payment was made did
Mr Vaz solicit your assistance with the donation?
(Mr Zaiwalla) It must have been at least six months.
771. It was a long period?
(Mr Zaiwalla) Yes.
772. Did he remind you from time to time that
you had not paid?
(Mr Zaiwalla) He phoned up to complain that I had
not paid, that the organisers were complaining.
773. Where was the urgency on that day?
(Mr Zaiwalla) I do not know.
774. You accepted there was urgency for some
(Mr Zaiwalla) Yes.
775. You did not inquire why?
(Mr Zaiwalla) No. I knew that I had not paid.
776. Despite reminders?
(Mr Zaiwalla) I do not know whether there were reminders
or not but I remember Mr Vaz phoning me up when I look back, complaining
that I had not paid.
777. Six months before was the first approach.
You cannot remember whether there were subsequent approaches.
All you know is six months later it became, for some reason, a
matter of urgency presumably, but you are not sure why.
(Mr Zaiwalla) It must have been before 1 January 1994
because when Mr Milne took over the management of the firm I agreed
with him that I would not make any sponsorship payments without
mentioning to him. Six months is roughly; I cannot say with any
degree of accuracy.
778. It may be that we have been provided with
information showing it is 9 February. We may need to see consistency
there. In February last year, you said that you had made the payment
of £1,000 for charity and possibly two payments of £500
on the Asian Network payments, but you made no other payments
to Keith Vaz. In July, you were able to write to the Commissioner
saying that you had shown that there were payments to Wildberry
in relation to the calendar which you thought had come as a suggestion
from Mr C B Patel and there was a payment of £250 to the
office expenses. Is it a simple explanation that in February you
had not recalled this?
(Mr Zaiwalla) I had not recalled that. After FebruaryI
might have the dates wrongI went for an interview with
the Commissioner. I gave an undertaking to get my bookkeeper to
check back and I think the bookkeeper provided me this information.
As soon as it came, I passed it on.
779. Nobody else has suggested, as far as you
know, to her or to anybody else that there had been any other
payments. It was you who found them and you who declared them.
(Mr Zaiwalla) I found them and I declared them.