Examination of Witness (Questions 465
TUESDAY 6 FEBRUARY 2001
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
(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
471. In cash, of course.
(Mr Brown) In cash.
472. Do you remember the denomination of the
(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
(Mr Brown) I am not sure whether it was £1,000
or £2,000. The suggestion has been made to meand 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.