Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witness (Questions 534 - 539)



  Mr Bottomley: Chairman, can I just say on the record that Mr Zaiwalla has had a home in my constituency.


534. Thank you. Welcome to the Committee, Mr Zaiwalla. Will you introduce your colleague to us, please?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) Certainly. She is Miss Shirley Chapman. She is my personal assistant. I was going to bring my solicitor, but he was busy, so I brought her along.

  535. Of course. You can advise Mr Zaiwalla as and when you think fit, and he can ask your advice, but you do not address the Committee unless, of course, you are asked. Welcome to the Committee again, Mr Zaiwalla. First of all, could you explain your relationship with Mr Keith Vaz, how you knew him, how you met him and various actions that you have taken?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) Certainly. I must have met him the first time some time after he became a Member of Parliament. I must have met him at a public event when we got to know each other, and since then we have known each other.

  536. So you met him and then you continued to meet each other up till when, up till now?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) We continued to meet each other until he became a Minister of the Crown. I do not think we met at all after that, until at a reception which the British High Commissioner in Delhi gave for Mr Vaz, which I attended.

  537. What about the payments which you have given to Mr Vaz in some form or another? Could you explain those to us?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) Yes, I could very well explain them to you. All the payments which I have made—and they total some £2,450 over a period of ten years—were all made for the purpose of sponsoring of some events or functions and none of them were for his personal use.

  538. But what sort of functions were being sponsored by that money?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) I will just give you an example. The last two payments were made in 1998. My firm took a table at two functions organised by the Asian Business Breakfast Network. We took a table of ten, and it cost us £500. That same year we took another table of ten for £500. I would take my firms clients and my friends for those events. At one of those events which I attended the Home Secretary, Mr Straw, was there.[1]

  539. How do you know if that money was used for those events?
  (Mr Zaiwalla) I would not know.

1   Note by witness: Cheques for these two functions were made out to "The Kala Dinner". Back

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