Examination of Witness (Questions 140
TUESDAY 30 JANUARY 2001
KAPASI OBE DL MKD
140. You are a very intelligent person and,
forgetting your status in society, what did you think could occur
if you gave them off the record confirmation of the rumour, ie
the rumour of the payments? What were you thinking could come
out of that?
(Mr Kapasi) Well, nothing, otherwise I would not have
made a fine mess of this.
141. It beggars belief, you see, that two journalists
from the Sunday Times should interview you and that you
should somehow think nothing would happen if you told them stories
of that nature.
(Mr Kapasi) Actually I have been very silly about
it, as you can see, and as I said I am extremely embarrassed by
what has happened.
142. The presumption is that you were telling
the truth then and you are not telling the truth now, because
of the detail you put to them when you answered their questions.
Can you see the logic is there?
(Mr Kapasi) I think if you refer to some of the answers
which I have given, you will find it was while I was working doing
my work and I was being questioned, so really I was not concentrating
on some of the questions. If you do it logically and try and see
what sort of answers I had given, you can see in one case there
was a silence there because I was not listening to the questions,
and this is the unfortunate thing that I have done.
143. Are you asking us to believe this was so
casual that you could carry on your work, jotting down your figures,
whilst these journalists are talking to you, and you would say,
"Yes, yeah, it must have been three cheques", that sort
of thing? It was that casual?
(Mr Kapasi) It definitely was that casual.
144. Did you at that time know of the allegations
made by Peter Soulsby about the earlier discussion he claimed
to have had with you?
(Mr Kapasi) At that time I believe I had the letter
from the Commissioner stating Councillor Soulsby's allegation,
"This morning I telephoned Mr Jaffer Kapasi ..."
145. That is the point, you see. It is not out
of the blue, you know Councillor Soulsby has made a very important
allegation against you, you know in the local community these
rumours are going around and yet you ask us to believe that you
were totally casual, ambivalent, about two members of the press
from a leading newspaper asking you these very specific questions
and you answering in the way you did, and that somehow that was
going to go away. You ask us to believe that was your state of
(Mr Kapasi) Yes, unfortunately, absolutely. As I said,
I am totally embarrassed by what I have done and I realise the
seriousness of the situation.
146. If you make an allegation about someone
and the police make lots of investigations and find you were telling
stories of this nature, you would actually be committing a criminal
offence and wasting police time. Can you see that you are actually
wasting parliamentary time, wasting the Commissioner's time, wasting
all our time, if indeed what you say today is in fact true?
(Mr Kapasi) Yes, I do admit it and I do apologise
Mr Foster: I have not got any other questions,
147. From what you said in your opening remarks,
Keith Vaz is a friend of yours?
(Mr Kapasi) I would not call him a friend, an acquaintance
really and a person I work with to deal with community issues.
Since I signed the declaration with other community leaders stating
that we would request him not to get involved, our relationships
have been very sour in fact.
148. Since you signed the?
(Mr Kapasi) I signed a declaration requesting Mr Vaz
not to get involved in local council affairs, that he is an excellent
MP but the local council should be able to address the local issues.
149. When did you sign that declaration?
(Mr Kapasi) If I recollect correctly it was around
150. But he was an acquaintance of yours?
(Mr Kapasi) Yes.
151. You have told us that basically the transcript
is not true.
(Mr Kapasi) Yes.
152. Why did you tell a lie about your Member
of Parliament? Why did you accuse your Member of Parliament of
a criminal offence? I cannot understand why you would do it.
(Mr Kapasi) I am deeply embarrassed by this.
153. I understand your embarrassment, but why
would you do it? Why would you tell a lie and accuse a Member
of Parliament of a criminal offence with huge implications for
the community? Why would you do that? There must be some reason
for it. Did you not like him perhaps? Did you feel malevolent
(Mr Kapasi) I cannot say whether I liked him or disliked
him, because I had to deal with him. You see I come from a business
family and the first thing you learn is you deal with anybody,
whether they come from Mongolia or Brazil, it does not matter,
and I had to deal with him on local matters. For example, if somebody
came to me from the community and said, "Can you help me
with this issue", I would pass it on to Mr Vaz who would
deal with it. So I had to have that relationship with him and
that is all really.
154. But you are a Deputy Lord Lieutenant of
the County of Leicestershire and you told a lie about a Member
of Parliament, according to what you have said, and you accused
him of a criminal offence in a detailed series of answers to journalists.
There must be a reason why you would do that.
(Mr Kapasi) I think it is a very bad mistake on my
155. Is there something you are not telling
us as to why you did this, which is what you admitted you did?
Is there some reason you are not telling us? Is there something
you feel is difficult to talk to the Committee about?
(Mr Kapasi) No.
156. Is it personal?
(Mr Kapasi) No, it is not personal. I am under oath
and I am telling you the truth.
157. I only have one more question. You are
a Deputy Lord Lieutenant of the County of Leicestershire, do you
feel that what you have done is conducive to the very important
public office you hold?
(Mr Kapasi) It is a difficult question to answer.
158. It is either a yes or no answer. It is
either that it is what you would expect of a Deputy Lord Lieutenant
of the County of Leicestershire or it is not. Which one would
you say it was?
(Mr Kapasi) You see because my belief
159. I understand that, but which one do you
think it is? Is it the conduct expected of a Deputy Lord Lieutenant
of the County of Leicestershire to tell lies about the local Member
of Parliament and accuse him of a criminal offence? I would like
an answer. You can ask your legal adviser if you like, he might
be able to help you with the answer. What is the answer? That
is all I have to ask, Chairman, but the witness will not answer
(Mr Kapasi) The answer is no.
Mr Campbell-Savours: The answer is no,