Statement of: Eileen Margaret Eggington
Mr Vaz has said that I telephoned his mother in Leicester
on Thursday 4th October and asked her questions, apparently on
behalf of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. My answer
to this serious allegation is that I have never telephoned Mr
Vaz's mother. I do not know her address or telephone number and
I would not dream of ever attempting to make contact with her.
I am able to provide corroborative evidence, if required, by supplying
copies of my home telephone and mobile telephone accounts. I have
checked my diary for 4th October and I was working 'out of town'
on a Foreign and Commonwealth assignment that day, arriving home
at about 1930 hours.
Mr Vaz has also said that I have given newspaper
interviews about this matter and he raises the question as to
whether I and/or Mrs Gresty have received payment from the newspapers
in relation to this enquiry. My reply is that in the past few
months I have answered questions put to me by Chris Hastings of
The Daily Telegraph, Jason Lewis of The Mail on Sunday
and Nick Craven of The Daily Mail. I did not give any press
interviews. I made no record of the questions asked or answers
given. My contacts with the journalists were brief and I did not
ask for, and have not received, any money or other reward from
any newspapers. I have not made enquiries on behalf of newspapers.
On the contrary, Nick Craven has sent me copies of documents he
obtained in relation to the two marriages of Mary Matin and Creditline
reports on the Bina Restaurant. I passed these on to the Parliamentary
Commissioner. He also supplied me with two photographs of Mary
and Abdul (known as 'Martin') Matin taken at their wedding on
26th January 1999.
In the light of the allegations against me made by
Mr Vaz, I wish to add the following information, which may shed
some light on why he appears to be attempting to undermine my
On 3rd June 2001 an article appeared in The Mail
on Sunday entitled "Vaz's aide's passport dossier".
I was quoted in this article. On 7th June I received a telephone
call from Mr Barney Monaghan of David Price Solicitors telling
me that he was preparing a letter on behalf of Maria Fernandes
in relation to that article. He asked me if I had supplied The
Mail on Sunday with a copy of Mrs Gresty's statement and if
either of us had received any money from that newspaper. I said
that I had not supplied the statement and that neither Mrs Gresty
nor I had received any money. I told Mr Monaghan that Mrs Gresty
was seriously ill in hospital and was not aware of the article.
He then tried to ask me further questions and I told him that
he must write to me. I received a copy letter by fax on 11th June
and the original by post the next day. I attach a copy of this
letter and my reply dated 20th June (document pages 1-4). I also
enclose a copy of my draft letter which, on legal advice, I did
not send (document pages 5-6). I have heard nothing further from
David Price Solicitors.
On 11th June I made a formal complaint to the Parliamentary
Commissioner that Mr and Mrs Vaz had employed Mrs Mary Matin,
an illegal immigrant from Bangladesh, as a nanny. The complaint
was based upon evidence obtained by me from Mrs Gresty. On 25th
June she provided more detailed evidence to support the complaint
in a signed statement. Mrs Matin lived with her husband above
the Bina Restaurant in Northwood, less than 100 yards from my
home. I do not frequent the Bina Restaurant and I made no attempt
to contact either her or her husband.
Early in September 2001 I paid one of my regular
visits to a long-standing local friend, Mrs PU, a Gujurati Asian.
I have supported P and her family of three boys, now adults, since
the 1970's when she arrived as a refugee from Uganda and was widowed
soon afterwards. I showed her the wedding photographs of Mary
and Martin Matin and asked her if she knew them. She said she
knew Martin but did not know Mary. She called to her son M to
talk to me because he knew Martin well. M told me that Martin
had died recently of cancer. He did not know Mary very well but
had heard that the people who had taken over the Bina were trying
to deny Mary her share in any inheritance. He believed that she
was no longer living above the Bina but had moved locally and
was living alone. M told me that it was not unusual for Bengali
widows to be ostracised in this way. He then telephoned his boss,
Mr Ali, proprietor of the Eastern Promise Restaurant in Northwood
Hills. They talked and M handed the phone to me to talk to Mr
Ali. I briefly told him why I was concerned for Mary Matin's welfare
and asked him if he knew where she was living. He said he thought
she was living locally in the Pinner Road, but did not know the
address. He said his wife might know. P then telephoned Martin's
former business partner, Abdul Miah (also known as Muhaimin),
on his mobile phone to ask him if he knew where Mary was living
and if she was all right. P told me that Abdul used "a very
bad word" about Mary and said that she had been a very bad
wife to Martin and had made him unhappy. He said he did not know
where Mary was living. (NB: It was Abdul Miah, who with the help
of Keith Vaz, had arranged the marriage between Mary and Martin
Matin,) M offered to take me to see Abdul at his home in Reading,
but I declined, not least because I assumed that he is still a
friend of Keith Vaz.
On or about 13th September I went with a friend to
The Eastern Promise because M had urged me several times to eat
at this restaurant where he had recently agreed a business arrangement.
M was not there but I introduced myself to Mr Ali. He sat down
and talked to me. He confirmed that he had heard that Martin's
wife was having problems but said that he thought M knew more
than he did. He was very friendly towards me but I got the impression
that he knew more than he was letting on. The restaurant was empty
and he instructed a colleague to get a camera. He tried to take
photos of the bar staff but could not get the camera to work.
I offered to look at it and put the film in correctly so that
it worked. After taking staff photos he took a couple of my friend
and me. It was all rather bizarre but I did not object because
I had nothing to hide.
I became increasingly concerned about the welfare
of Mary Matin and on or about 15th September I asked PU if she
could find out where she was living and in what circumstances.
P soon discovered that she was living in council accommodation
nearby at * * *. P suggested that we both go to see her because
she wanted to offer Mary condolences. During the morning of 19th
September 2001 I went with P to her Bengali friend at * * *. I
told the friend why I was concerned for Mary's welfare. the friend
told me that she knew little about Mary but she had supported
her as a neighbour since her husband passed away in July this
year. She said that she was almost always at home and said, "we
will go and see her now". We went to the address, but there
was no reply. That afternoon I went back with P and rang the bell
on the communal outside door, which has a plain glass panel. I
got a fleeting glance of a female as she opened the door of the
ground floor flat, but immediately closed it when she saw me.
I rang the bell again but she did not answer.
P and I then went back to her friend at *** and told
her what had happened. She immediately offered to come with us.
She rang the bell, knocked on the window and called out. Mary
opened the door. The friend talked to her in Bengali and she invited
us in. P embraced her and said how sorry she was about Martin.
She then introduced me to Mary. She said I was a police officer
and wanted to help her. I immediately corrected her and said I
was no longer a police officer but I had come as a friend. P told
her that we were concerned for her welfare because we had heard
that her late husband's business associates were trying to prevent
her inheriting his money. Mary stood all this time and looked
frightened. She spoke only a few words of English and spoke to
P in Hindi. She told P that was all right and that her husband's
two children would make sure that she got her share of the money.
She said that she and Martin were given a council flat in June
this year because her husband was too ill to climb the stairs
to the flat above the Bina. She said that he passed away a month
later. She said she lived on her widow's pension. P stressed that
I had been a good friend to her for many years and she was sure
that I could help her if she was being swindled out of her inheritance.
Mary said she trusted Martin's children to help her. I then told
her that I knew her friend Rita Gresty, who was also sad to hear
that Martin had passed away. She did not answer and just stared
wide-eyed at me. I told her that Rita herself had been very ill
for more than a year, but was now getting better. Mary continued
to stare and said nothing. We were in the flat for about 15 minutes
and Mary stood for most of the time, while we sat down. She was
clearly ill at ease and looked terrified when I mentioned Rita
Gresty's name. Her living room/kitchen was well appointed with
modern, clean, furniture and fittings and included a high quality
double oven and large fridge-freezer. There was a bowl of fresh
fruit on the table and about a dozen onions in the vegetable rack.
While we were there an elderly Asian lady arrived to collect some
bags from her freezer. P knows her and they talked briefly in
Hindi. The lady totally ignored me. As soon as she left, Mary
said she had to get on with some cooking and so we left. I have
made no attempt to contact her since that time.
P said afterwards, "I tell you something is
wrong. She does not dress like a widow and there are no pictures
of her husband in the room. She is not grieving like she should
be. You can be sure that Martin's children will not give her any
money. She was very rude to us. She did not offer us a drink or
something to eat. This does not happen among our people. I tell
you, she is hiding something." From my own observations,
Mary Matin is a frightened woman but she looks in good health
and is living in quite comfortable circumstances.
On 20th September I went to the Shanti Restaurant
in the High Street where I live and during the evening got into
conversation with the proprietor, a Bengali called "Harry",
who I have known for several years. I asked him if he knew Martin
and Mary. He said he had known Martin well and had visited him
above the Bina a month or so before Martin passed away. He said
his wife was there, but he did not know her name. He commented
that he had seen Martin's wife a few times in recent weeks walking
down the High Street, but she always had her head down and never
acknowledged him. I told him what I had heard about Mary and he
said that he was not surprised because that is typical of the
way his fellow countrymen treat women. Then he commented that
she should be all right for money. I asked him why. He said, "Doesn't
she work for Keith Vaz?" I said, "Does she?" Harry
said, "Well, I heard she worked for him so I thought she
must have money of her own". I said, "Who told you that?"
Harry said, "I can't remember now. It was a year or so ago.
It was just something I picked up that Martin's wife was working
for Keith Vaz." I said, "What work did she do for him?"
He said, "I think she was his secretary or something like
On 8th October 2001 I was telephoned at home by Police
Constable Sheila Waring, a community beat officer from Hayes Police
Station. She said that Mary Matin was at the front counter with
two Asian men, alleging harassment by me. Mary said that I had
called on her with P and then twice more by myself. I told the
officer the truth about my reason for visiting Mary and she then
told me that she had already spoken to PU on the telephone, who
had confirmed my story and given her my full name and telephone
number. I then told her the brief background to my original interest
in Mary and about the complaint I had made to the Parliamentary
She said she would explain to the callers about my
concern for Mary and try to assess if she needed support from
the local Domestic Violence unit. I rang PC Waring few days later
and she said that Mrs Matin and her companions had accepted my
explanation and did not pursue their complaint. She said that,
from her body language, Mary Matin did not appear to be under
any sort of duress.
To the best of my knowledge and belief, this statement
is true. I am aware that any action I take which might obstruct
an inquiry of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards could
be contempt of Parliament.
Signed: [Eileen M Eggington]
19 October 2001