Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witness (Questions 465 - 479)




  465. Welcome to the Committee, Mr Brown. Would you start off by explaining to us your connection with Mr Zaiwalla.
  (Mr Brown) Yes. I worked for Mr Zaiwalla from 1986 until 1994, mostly in the capacity of bookkeeper.

  466. What were your relations with him like?
  (Mr Brown) Excellent.

  467. We are considering the payments to Mr Vaz by Mr Zaiwalla. Can you explain some of the problems that this caused you or what you saw.
  (Mr Brown) It did not cause me any problem, because any such payments which Mr Zaiwalla made to anybody by way of a loan or a gift were simply charged to his account in the company's books as drawings.

  468. What was the relationship as you saw it between Mr Zaiwalla and Mr Vaz?
  (Mr Brown) I have no idea. I have no idea, other than maybe that Mr Vaz was, from what I recall, a newly elected MP at the time, back in 1993-94, and being of Asian extraction, the same as Mr Zaiwalla, I assume that was the main connection between the two of them.

  469. Did Mr Vaz come a number of times to Mr Zaiwalla's office?
  (Mr Brown) I must admit, I only saw Mr Vaz once in the office, but I did understand from other people that he was there more than once.

  470. Can you tell us something about the payments to Mr Vaz by Mr Zaiwalla.
  (Mr Brown) The only one that I was actually party to was the very first one, as far as I can recall. There seems to be some confusion, both in my mind and others, as to the exact amount, because being back in what I think was 1994, it may well have been £1,000 or £2,000. I recall Mr Vaz was with Mr Zaiwalla in his office, and I was asked to go to the bank to collect or withdraw either £1,000 or £2,000, but I really cannot remember.

  471. In cash, of course.
  (Mr Brown) In cash.

  472. Do you remember the denomination of the notes?
  (Mr Brown) I suspect for a sum that size it was £50 notes, but I could not swear to that.

  473. But you are not sure whether it was £1,000 or £2,000?
  (Mr Brown) I am not sure whether it was £1,000 or £2,000. The suggestion has been made to me—and I have been under quite considerable pressure. I am a very small party to this. The Sunday Telegraph have been telephoning me and my family at regular intervals, and parking on my doorstep, trying to get some story out of me. The sum of £2,000 was something that was mentioned to me by Andrew Milne, and I think you have his transcript somewhere. I could not swear it was £2,000. It may have been only £1,000.

  474. So you brought this package of £1,000.
  (Mr Brown) I went to the bank and I withdrew £1,000.

  475. What did you do then?
  (Mr Brown) Took it up to Mr Zaiwalla's office.

  476. Was Mr Vaz there with him?
  (Mr Brown) Mr Vaz was with Mr Zaiwalla on that occasion. That was the only occasion that I ever saw the two of them together in Mr Zaiwalla's office.

  477. You gave it to Mr Zaiwalla?
  (Mr Brown) I may have given it to Mr Zaiwalla or he may have gestured for me to give it to Mr Vaz, but there was no doubt from the conversation I had with Mr Zaiwalla afterwards as to how to record the withdrawal, that it was money that he had given to Mr Vaz.

  478. So there was no secrecy at all about that; it was just straightforward.
  (Mr Brown) At the time there was just Mr Zaiwalla, myself and Mr Vaz in Mr Zaiwalla's office.

  479. You were not asked to keep this confidential in any way?
  (Mr Brown) Not at all, no. I think there was a suggestion by Mr Zaiwalla that the money was to set up Mr Vaz's office, which may be where I got the idea from that he was a newly elected MP at the time.

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2001
Prepared 16 March 2001