Letter to Mr Geoffrey Bindman, Bindman
& Partners, Solicitors, from the Parliamentary Commissioner
As I am now approaching the end of my inquiry
into complaints against Mr Vaz, I need to write what I hope will
be a final letter seeking either new information or clarification
of previous replies from Mr Vaz. These matters are as follows:
1. There still seems to be some confusion over
the funding and purpose of the calendars with which Mr Vaz has
been associated. The following questions arise:
(i) Are the annual calendars and the constituency
calendars the same? If not, please explain their respective purposes
and sources of funding (I repeat my earlier request for a sight
of the relevant accounts).
(ii) You state in your letter of 17 July
that the constituency calendar carried no advertising, yet in
your letter of 2 November, responding to my letter of 3 October,
you suggest that the payment from Mr Zaiwalla of £250 in
January 1993 "could have been a part payment for the advert
in the calendar." Moreover, the copies of the calendars which
Mr Vaz provided to my predecessor plainly do carry advertising.
Could you please explain this apparent discrepancy?
(iii) Please give the names of all those,
whether individuals or commercial organisations, which either
sponsored, or otherwise contributed toward the costs of producing
or publishing, the calendars, with dates and amounts donated.
(iv) Why were none of these individually
registered (with the exception of Mr Patel in 1999)?
2. I am still not clear about the precise areas
of activity of Mapesbury Communications. Mr Vaz told my predecessor
in 1996 he was setting up the company, which would receive his
"income from the Annual Calendar, together with all the income
I receive from outside Parliament."
(i) What are, or have been, those sources
of income from outside Parliament?
(ii) What other sources of income does Mapesbury
(iii) What has the income received by Mapesbury
been spent on? (Please give details and a breakdown of the latest
turnover figure in the accounts for 1998-99 (£51,428).
(iv) Mr Vaz has told me (see your letter
of 17 July) that he had had no personal involvement with Mapesbury
(in the sense that he was neither a shareholder nor a director,
nor did he derive any personal benefit or income from it), but
the company's register of members is kept at his London home.
Why is this?
(v) Why did Mr Vaz say in your letter 17
July that, after the calendar project was abandoned, Mapesbury
continued to trade "with new officers", when, according
to my reading of the company's accounts, throughout the period
since 1995-96 both Mr Vaz's mother and wife have been directors
and the sole shareholder has been his wife.
The Premises Fund
3. If I am to obtain a full and accurate picture
of the purpose and source of funding of the premises fund to which
Mr Attwal made a donation of £250 (for which he has now provided
a copy of the cheque stub), I must see the accounts of the premises
fund for which this cheque was paid and other relevant documentation.
(i) Can Mr Vaz please supply these, or failing
that, tell me who in the Leicester East Constituency Labour Party
has the documents in his or her possession, and the address of
(ii) During the course of my inquiries witnesses
have variously referred to a "premises fund", or a "constituency
office fund", a "fighting fund" an "election
fund", or a "fund to support the Member of Parliament".
Mr Attwal's cheque was made payable to "The Leicester East
Constituency Labour Party Premises Account". Could Mr Vaz
please list all such funds, of which he is aware, which were in
any way linked to the constituency party or to him in his capacity
as aMember or a Parliamentary candidate, indicating in each case,
the purpose of the fund, its sources of funding and his role in
relation to its administration.
4. Mr Vaz has said (in his letter of 2 November)
that the Labour Party has confirmed its receipt of a donation
of £1,000 from Mr Attwal.
(i) What is the source of that confirmation?
(ii) Into which Labour Party account was
it paid (again, if Mr Vaz cannot supply this information directly,
can he please tell me whom I should approach in the Leicester
East Constituency Labour Party)?
(iii) In an earlier letter, dated 19 March,
Mr Vaz told me that the donation from Mr Attwal was received by
the Labour Party in 1991-92. But Mr Attwal's cheque was dated
31 December 1992, so that it could not have been in the hands
of the Labour Party until early in 1993. Could Mr Vaz please explain
this apparent discrepancy?
(iv) Mr Attwal has repeatedly stated that
although the £1,000 donation was intended for the Labour
Party, it was in fact made out to Mr Vaz personally. Can Mr Vaz
offer any explanation for this and provide details of (a) his
personal account into which the cheque was paid, (b) by what means
Mr Vaz ensured that the money eventually reached the Labour Party
and (c) supporting documentation?
5. I have received a letter from Mr M H Asmal
of Leicester, in which he says:
"In the short time I knew Mr Vaz, I had
been told by members of the business community that he did accept
payments especially when it came to his election expenses and
that his mother would approach business people for these payments.
But I have never seen him take any payments in my presence. However,
I have seen his mother ask a person to pay off Mr Vaz's telephone
bill, but I cannot remember who this person was, as it was six
or seven years ago."
(i) Would Mr Vaz care to comment on these
remarks, stating in particular how he and Mr Asmal became acquainted
and whether he knows of any person who has paid Mr Vaz's telephone
bill at any time?
The Dawoodi Community
6. What was the nature of Mr Vaz's dealing with
the Dawoodi Community, in particular in relation to the allocation
of land or planning issues in connection with the proposal for
a complex of religious buildings in the Hamilton area of Leicester?
Once again, I apologise for troubling Mr Vaz
with a further set of questions, but I am anxious, not least out
of fairness to Mr Vaz, to be sure that I have all the information
I need in order to be able to complete my memorandum to the Committee.
As I have previously indicated, Mr Vaz will have an opportunity
to see my memorandum in draft in order to make any comments or
suggest corrections of fact.
27 November 2000