Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner
for Standards from Mr Geoffrey Bindman, Bindman & Partners,
I write further to my letters of 3 and 17 August
in order to respond to certain matters contained in your letter
of 18 July and to review the status of the complaints which you
are investigating as far as my client and I understand them. I
find it necessary to do this because of your repeated failure
to respond to my requests to supply evidence, save for the transcripts
accompanying your letter of 18 July on which I will comment as
Until your letter of 7 June the only complaint
you had said you were investigating was that by Mr Milne referred
to in your first letter to Mr. Vaz of 4 February. In my letter
of 25 May I examined the allegations and the evidence which you
claimed to have in considerable detail and I invited you to reject
the complaint. Since then you have provided me with transcripts
which purport to be of interviews between a journalist, Rajiv
Syal and Mr Zaiwalla, and between Mr Zaiwalla and yourself. You
have also referred to payments in his accounts of £250 and
£200 "mentioning" Mr Vaz. Mr Zaiwalla has repeatedly
stated that he has made no payment to Mr Vaz personally and that
any payments he has made at the request of Mr Vaz have been payments
to charity (see, for example his letter to you of 7 February).
Mr Vaz has confirmed this categorically. You have still provided
no evidence to the contrary and it is frankly inexplicable that
nearly 3 months after my letter of 25 May you apparently continue
to pursue this complaint.
On 7 June, for the first time, you set out the
complaints other than that made by Mr Milne which you were investigating.
These number 23. In my letter of 15 June in reply to your letter
of 7 June, I referred you to the standards set out in your own
memorandum called "the Investigation Process". I pointed
out that there could be no justification for prolonging an investigation
where no credible evidence had been produced to support it. I
invited you to specify what breaches of the Code of Conduct and
Rules were alleged by you but you replied only in general terms.
I invited you to supply evidence contradicting what my client
has said in reply to your numerous questions but you have not
done so. You have merely referred obliquely to some possible evidence
in the course of asking more questions. In an effort to clarify
the situation I attempt as follows to summarise the current position
in relation to each of your numbered complaints:
1. Denied. No evidence. See my letter of
2. See 1.
3. Denied. No evidence of payment to or
for Mr Vaz personally. Mr Kamal is obviously referring to contributions
to the Labour Party.
4. No evidence provided of registrable payment
or benefit which was not in fact registered.
6. Denied. No evidence supplied.
7. Denied. See 6.
8. Denied. See 6.
9. Denied. See explanation in Mr Vaz's letter
of 19 March.
10. Denied. See 9.
11. Denied. See 9.
12. See explanation in Mr Vaz's letter of
13. Denied. See 9.
14. Ditto. It is common ground that the
payment claimed by Mr Attwall was a donation to the Labour Party.
You have claimed no evidence to the contrary. If, notwithstanding
this, the matter is to be pursued, please provide copies of all
letters received from Mr Attwall together with copies of the relevant
bank statement and of the cheque referred to in your letter of
15. Denied. No evidence supplied of any
concealed donation or inaccurately registered purpose.
16. This is highly speculative. Mr Vaz has
explained the position and no evidence has been supplied which
contradicts his explanation.
17. Denied by both Mr Vaz and Mr Zaiwalla.
No evidence supplied or even claimed!
18. Mr Vaz denies receiving financial benefits
from Mr Zaiwalla. See 1.
19. Denied. No contrary evidence supplied.
20. Denied. No evidence supplied of personal
responsibility or involvement by Mr Vaz for the alleged club or
21. Denied. No direct evidence supplied
or claimed. The evidence claimed is hearsay. If this matter is
to be pursued, original tapes and witness statement, interview
transcript and correspondence with Mr Kapasi must be provided.
22. See 21.
23. See 21.
I hope the above summary will assist you in
responding to the final paragraph of my letter of 3 August. If
there remain any complaints in relation to which you still consider
there is evidence which could justify any adverse finding against
my client, could you please identify those complaints according
to the list in your letter of 7 June and provide that evidence
so that my client can respond to it before you come to your conclusions.
22 August 2000