File note by the Parliamentary Commissioner
VAZ, 7 JULY
2000, TELEPHONE CALL
Roy Stuttard said the answers to my questions
in my letter of 5 July 2000 were:
1. That he had attended a meeting where serving
councillors were asked for contributions for Mr Vaz's election;
he remembers the figure of " and believes that it was £2
per week, £8 per month that was requested. There were several
meetings, particularly in 1997/8 at which he remembers Mr Vaz
asking Councillors to donate some of their allowances towards
what he thinks was an election fighting fund. He said he had refused
to make such a payment.
2. Mr Stuttard said that the Minutes of the
constituency general committee ought to record these requests
as they were made in person by Mr Vaz. Mr Stuttard said he had
not made any donations himself, indeed, he had refused to do so.
3. I asked Mr Stuttard if he believed anybody
else had made donations and he said he was almost sure that Councillor
Mustafa Kamal had made a donation because he had mentioned it
to him previously and indeed, he was always willing to contribute
to causes he believed in. He said " Councillor Kamal is a
very generous fellow".
4. He said Mr Vaz had come to his house once
and had said to him in a very agitated way that He (Mr Stuttard)
was the only Councillor who "wouldn't do what he was told".
I asked what was that about and he said he wasn't sure but there
was another occasion on which he was asked to resign as a Councillor
but he refused. I asked Mr Stuttard if this was a constituency
fund or whether it was a fund to support Mr Vaz and he said as
fair "As I know it was an election fighting fund to support
Mr Vaz. It was always asked for by Mr Vaz".
5. Mr Stuttard went on to say that he had
had "Strange experiences with treasurers". On one occasion
his wife had found that the treasurer wouldn't produce balanced
accounts, and as she was auditor that year she would not accept
6. Mr Stuttard said he was sorry he couldn't
remember the details more clearly. The other people who might
be able to help would be John Thomas, Mary Drakecott and Councillor
7. Pat Stuttard then came on the phone and
said she was currently Treasurer of West Humberstone Ward of the
Labour Party. She had been Vice Chair of the Constituency at one
time. It was always difficult to get auditors for constituency
accounts and one year she had jointly carried the role with Mr
Paul Gosling who had had accountancy training although he was
a journalist now. During that year, she thought it might have
been 1997 or 1998 though she couldn't remember, they had refused
to clear the accounts because the underlying information was so
poor. I asked Mrs Stuttard whether the poor underlying information
was in any way related to Mr Vaz and she said "Well he does
always tend to be tied up with the officers of the constituency
but I can't say any more than that".
8. Mrs Stuttard also said that she found
that when she was Vice Chairman of the Constituency she was often
excluded from the decision making of the senior officers and the
MP, but she didn't know why.
9. She was aware that at several general
constituency meetings Mr Vaz had asked people to contribute to
an election fighting fund, she can remember the sum of £2
or a percentage of a Councillor's allowance being mentioned but
she couldn't recall it more precisely.
10. She said Mr Stuttard had made a speech
about why he would not contribute in this way. She went on to
say that one of the people who had given support financially,
she believed was Mustapha Kamal, she said he "He supports
everything, he is a very generous person". I asked Mrs Stuttard
whether the donations had been asked for to support the constituency
or to support Mr Vaz. She said "I am not sure about that",
"Not because I am not sure about what was said, but I do
not think Mr Vaz made that very clear". She said she believed
that it was to support a fighting fund or some such account for
Mr Vaz. I asked her whether when she had audited the accounts
she had seen evidence of such donations and she said no she had
not because the accounts were of such poor quality and that she
found it difficult to understand what they did record.
11. Later Mr Stuttard rang me back again
and gave me the following information. That the people who would
be able to give information about such donations would be: Colin
Hall, Alan Graterix and Councillor Mary Drakecott JP. Mr Stuttard
said that now that he had thought about it further, he believed
that the sum asked for was approximately £8 per month.