Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witness (Questions 480 - 499)



  480. He said that to you, that it was to set up his office?
  (Mr Brown) That it was to set up his office.

  481. He actually stated that?
  (Mr Brown) Yes.

Mr Campbell-Savours

  482. To Mr Brown?
  (Mr Brown) To me, yes.


  483. Do you know the exact date?
  (Mr Brown) I do not know the exact date. All I can tell you is that in June 1994 Zaiwalla moved offices from 95a Chancery Lane to 60 Chancery Lane, and it was prior to the move, and not very much before the move, so perhaps April or May 1994.

  484. You say that the purpose of this money, as explained to you by Mr Zaiwalla, was to assist in the office.
  (Mr Brown) To assist in the setting up of Mr Vaz's parliamentary office.

  485. Not a donation to a charity or anything like that?
  (Mr Brown) No.

  486. You are quite clear on that?
  (Mr Brown) I am positive, yes.

  487. Was there not a charity donation as well, separate from that?
  (Mr Brown) I do not know.

  488. Given that you have a conviction for a criminal offence, how can you expect the Committee to treat as credible your evidence, both to the Committee and to the Commissioner?
  (Mr Brown) I can answer that quite simply. I never expected to come here. I came here of my own free will, because I was asked to, and because that fact that I have just reported to you is the only fact that I have. I have no other knowledge of meetings, as I said, between Mr Zaiwalla and Mr Vaz. When the Sunday Telegraph telephoned me last year, about 12 months ago, it was because they wanted to do a story on Mr Baldry, and I knew nothing about it. It turned out that they were events which happened in 1997 and 1998, which was well after I left Zaiwalla.

Mr Bottomley

  489. Just going into background, how often would you go and collect similar sums of money from the bank?
  (Mr Brown) For Mr Zaiwalla?

  490. Yes.
  (Mr Brown) Maybe half a dozen times a year. Most times they were quite simple withdrawals, because he travelled abroad a lot and preferred to take sterling in cash. To actually go and withdraw cash and give it to him to give to somebody else was a rarity—in my presence anyway.

  491. In your experience, is this the only time it has happened or is it just rare?
  (Mr Brown) As far as Mr Vaz is concerned?

  492. No, leave aside Mr Vaz.
  (Mr Brown) As I said, I used to go and withdraw cash for Mr Zaiwalla without knowing what the purpose of the money was. It went down to his account in the books. That was it. Sometimes he told me; sometimes he did not. This is the only instance when it was actually discussed.

  493. Just for confirmation, in terms of involvement with Mr Vaz, to your knowledge, this was the only occasion?
  (Mr Brown) To my knowledge, yes.

  494. You are not saying it could not have happened at other times but this is the only time that you actually saw Mr Vaz?
  (Mr Brown) This is the only time I saw him.

  495. Was there any discussion about Mr Vaz with other people?
  (Mr Brown) No. The set-up of the office in Chancery Lane was that Mr Zaiwalla's office was off the reception area. The working part of the office was away from there, so people coming in and out to see Mr Zaiwalla would merely go through the reception without seeing any other member of staff.

  496. Do you recall any conversations or other conversations about Mr Vaz with Mr Zaiwalla?
  (Mr Brown) No.

Mr Campbell-Savours

  497. Does the name Mark mean anything to you?
  (Mr Brown) Mark? No.

Mr Williams

  498. You have seen the transcript of the telephone conversation.
  (Mr Brown) Yes, I have.

  499. One point of clarification on what you just mentioned, that you only saw Vaz there once yourself. You are sure of that now, but I noticed towards the bottom of the first page of the transcript, when Mr Milne said, "I was asked about Mr Vaz...I do remember you did give him—or someone from his office—an envelope." "Oh, yes. I remember that quite vividly. He was up there quite a lot."
  (Mr Brown) I think he may well have been up there a lot, but that was just speculation, not that I actually saw him a lot.

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