Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witness (Questions 180 - 193)



  180. I thought it was the first conversation which had the interruption and the phone was put down?
  (Mr Kapasi) No, it was the second one. The first conversation I had with both of them in my office where I was tape recorded without my knowledge. The second conversation I had was on the mobile phone. Annex 158, page 4, if you go half way, I ask him, "Are you going to do a story on this ....?" and he said, "Well, I mean the point is sir that you are involved. That's the problem." That is when I realised I had done something gravely wrong by giving my story. Then I tried to retract, as you go down the lines, "Well, I would deny that anyway ..." and then, "... I don't want to get involved." I also said, "I trusted you to respect that", and what I meant was that this is an off the record conversation I am having with him without any knowledge of being taped—and I believe from my solicitor illegally—and when I tried to retract and said, "Look, there's something wrong here", he put the phone down.

  181. You got a letter from the Commissioner in March about the investigations I think?
  (Mr Kapasi) Yes.

  182. When you last spoke to Mr Vaz about this, do you think it was before or after that?
  (Mr Kapasi) When the Sunday Times article came I immediately realised the grave error which I had made, and this time I tried to find out who was the best solicitor in the city to deal with media affairs, and I was given the name of Mark Stephens, so I contacted him. Prior to other newspapers events, I have another recollection in 1994 or 1995 when I did talk to Mr Vaz about that.

  183. If you go back to March last year, when I think the Commissioner wrote to you, do you think your last conversation with Mr Vaz about these issues was before you received the letter from her or afterwards?
  (Mr Kapasi) Before.

  184. Are you quite sure about that? Are you absolutely certain or is it your recollection? What I am really saying is, is it possible you got the letter from the Commissioner and then you had the conversation with Mr Vaz about it?
  (Mr Kapasi) The only conversation I had is in March 2000 when the Sunday Telegraph reported. That is when I actually talked to him but after that we had no discussion.

  185. After the conversation with the journalists or after the article came out?
  (Mr Kapasi) After the article came out in March 2000.

  186. You then spoke to Mr Vaz and that was probably the last time you spoke to him about these issues?
  (Mr Kapasi) Yes.

  Mr Bottomley: I understand, Mr Kapasi, you are not wishing to get involved in this and it is not on your initiative, but can you accept that the Committee has heard in four conversations with journalists which you accept took place, and in one conversation with Peter Soulsby which you have not necessarily confirmed but I am not asking you to, over a period of six years we have these five examples reported to us where you have said things which you now say are not what actually happened? Do you understand that that is the situation facing us?

Mr Bruce

  187. Mr Kapasi, you are saying that what you have said in the transcript is untrue and that you have said in your declaration that you have made no payments to Mr Vaz, but you are an officer of the Dawoodi community. Has the community made any contributions to either Mr Vaz's office or his campaign or the local Labour Party?
  (Mr Kapasi) No. You see, we have since then made efforts to check the community's records as well to see if any payment was made. I believe the community has already confirmed that no payments, cash or cheque, have ever been made to Mr Vaz.

  188. Are they willing to make those accounts available to the Committee, or their bank statements?
  (Mr Kapasi) I am sure they would be able to but I would have to refer this to the President of the community.

  189. How about your own personal situation? Again, in the transcript you have said things which you now say are untrue. You said in the transcript that you issued a personal cheque which you now say you did not. Are you therefore willing to make your own bank statements available to the Committee?
  (Mr Kapasi) Yes, I am quite happy to do that.

Mr Williams

  190. This is a yes or no answer question that has not been asked. On your own admission you have given information to the press which has led to individuals being libelled. Has anyone taken out or threatened to take out a libel action against you on the basis of what you said to the press?
  (Mr Kapasi) No.


  191. One final thing. You considered that Mr Vaz was involved himself rather too much in the council's affairs. You mentioned this earlier, that it was some years ago now. What did you think he was doing in the council's affairs which you opposed?
  (Mr Kapasi) I think, as I mentioned to you earlier, there is a political rivalry between Mr Vaz and Councillor Sir Peter Soulsby.

  192. Is that the extent of his involvement or does it go further?
  (Mr Kapasi) I think we were advised by Sir Peter Soulsby, "Can you help us to see if you can write to Mr Vaz to request him not to interfere in the affairs of the local council?" We took up his advice and we wrote that letter. Quite a few leaders of various temples and mosques and community organisations signed that letter and I happened to be one of them, requesting him not to interfere in the local authority affairs.

  193. Did it have an effect?
  (Mr Kapasi) I really do not know.

  Chairman: Thank you for coming along today and answering our questions, Mr Kapasi.

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