Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Third Report

Annex 4

Transcript of conversation between Mr Jaffer Kapasi and Mr Rajeev Syal

  R:  Hi.

  J:  We got a phone call last night from someone else at Leicester . . . I can tell you who it was, it was Councillor Kamaal who tells us that he's got a letter from the commissioner regarding, from the Parliamentary Commissioner, what we're doing is basically finding out if anyone else has, have you? . . .

  J:  Yes, I have heard yesterday . . .

  R:  You did, what was she saying . . .

  J:  Well, she was asking me about, . . . payment.

  R:  Pardon, she is asking you about?

  J:  You know my payment (for the month inaudible) and also if I knew anyone else, who would have given money to him.

  R:  Right.

  J:  There were five, or four or five questions . . .

  R:  Right.

  J:  (Inaudible)

  R:  Right, how are you going to do it, are you going to tell the truth or . . .

  J:  I can't discuss it, unfortunately I have to talk with some of my colleagues, in the (inaudible) community, (inaudible) see the problem we have is the community will suffer, you know, you see, . . . I need to talk to my colleagues before I make a final decision.

  R:  Right, obviously what we said was completely off the record and um, we won't be identifying you at all, you know by name, and what we wanted to do in this weeks paper is, basically outline the fact that letter had gone out re very specific allegations and um, yours the allegations and that, that you made to me about payments around Hamilton was just one of the allegations, that there have been many others which, I know well we've found out because basically we have been calling people all night and we have found out that there is a whole raft of allegations around the country, mainly centred in London to be honest. But what we wanted to do was bring them altogether this weekend just basically go through what the Parliamentary Commissioner has, is investigating. We are going to mention Hamilton as part of that, obviously we won't be mentioning you by name, but we will be mentioning the fact that she has been investigating claims that um, a bribe was handed, a bribe sorry, that money was handed over to Mr Vaz for help with planning permission. Would that be OK?

  J:  Well yes, I mean if you want to do that.

  R:  Right.

  R:  Yes, as we discussed I mean, the other day, the last time I had a lot of comeback, ah from the community so . . . I had a lot of comeback from them . . .

  R:  Yes.

  J.  When . . .

  R:  What do you mean, when was that.

  J:  You know when we, um, when we signed a petition against (inaudible) local politicians, what he did was complain to a senior . . .

  R:  Sorry, what do you mean, a central base, from which organisation?

  J:  You know for the mosque . . . see what he did was complain, also to a few of my friends in London as well, he knows that I have got contacts ah, . . . again, you know.

  R:  Yeah, I mean I would only expect him to do that, I mean it's much bigger than that isn't it, I mean the fact that the Parliamentary Commissioner . . . See first of all she has the power to subpoena people you know that, and on top of that, which so obviously you would be asked to give sworn evidence as in a court of law, but on top of that it is not as though you have done anything wrong, or anyone, do you know. And I think that, you know from the letter that we . . . basically we have had the wording of a couple of the letters given to us, from what it appears, to us it seems she has sent out letters to at least 20 people asking them to come forward and what she is letting them know is that they have not done anything wrong.

  J:  No, no, no.

  R:  I take it you will have to comply in that sense, I mean though you can't really lie to the commissioner, can you?

  J:  No, no, no.

  R:  You are going to have to tell her the truth.

  J:  Yes, yes, yes.

  R:  Is that true? Or is . . . I am asking, off the record, you will not be identified, but just so I know whether or not you will comply with um, I really have to push you on that because we really cannot write a, we can't really mention what's happening in Leicester unless, unless, people will comply. We do know that at least two people are helping with her enquiries in Leicester. But would you be doing that as well, I take you are going to have to. You can't sir,

  J:  I know, I'm going to have . . . to talk my colleagues yet, I will probably be doing that and then I will be making my mind up what . . .

  R:  Right, right.

  R:  So at the moment you are, you are, obviously you are not, you know. We both know that the actual payment were placed, but the point is, is whether or not you can, whether or not you have the permission to talk to the commissioner and give them, because you've got to ask the people from the community.

  J:  That's right, yes.

  R:  I understand, OK well look, let me call you back and I will read exactly what we are going to put in the paper, so you are happy and it will not identify you in any way, OK?

  R:  So that way your name will be kept out of it, and Keith won't be able to bother you, OK?

  J:  OK.

  R:  So shall I call you at home or on a mobile?

  J:  Yes you can call, m, actually I am coming to London, I will be in London.

  R:  Oh you will, that's good, but let me call you anyway this morning.

  J:  OK.

  R:  What's your number . . .

  J:  I will be in the office after 10.

  R:  Pardon.

  J:  I will be in the office after 10.

  R:  After 10 o'clock, OK, and so I will call you then on your office number. Do you want to give it to me again.

  J:  Yeah, * * *

  R:  OK, talk to you later Jaffer.

  J:  OK.

  Hangs up.

Second conversation—between same people.

  R:  Its Rajeev.

  J:  I heard.

  R:  Yes as I saying, basically all we wanted to say was something like, this . . . just to say that, application for religious building, ah, what we will be doing is a story about the fact that Mr Vaz is at the centre of new cash payments allegations following an extension of Elizabeth Filkins enquiry into allegations that he accepted money, payments of £1,000 and lower down the story what we wanted to say is this, that one of the allegations dates back to 1991, concerns a £500 payment, um given to him by a business man who the TST will not identify, no such payment has been entered in the Register of the Members Interest. Would that be okay, is that okay?

  It . . . (inaudible) . . . me that eventually they can get to who are they are talking about.

  R:  Who will be able to?

  J:  (inaudible) . . . they asking who?

  J:  When he will start questioning.

  R:  Well, he won't be able to because he will deny that a payment was made, and so its, you know, it's not as if he's going to be able to, I mean he is going to deny that a payment was made, not because, I believe you obviously, and because we have spoken to so many other people who told us exactly the same story.

  J:  Right.

  R:  But the only way we can write stories about these things is if people allow us that much leeway just to print the allegations, we are not looking to but just say that the allegation dates back to 1991, concerns a £500 payment given to Mr Vaz by a business who the state has decided not to identify. Would that be OK? Is that OK?

  J:  Um as I said I am just thinking ahead, he can challenge your newspaper, and . . . inaudible.

  R:  But you have been, as you said, you have been contacted by Elizabeth Filkin, and therefore you are, you have done nothing wrong, all that's happened is that you've been contacted by Ms Filkin after years of rumours about this, I mean I heard a rumour about this, I heard this story in 1994 when I was there. I mean this is not as if you are being singled out, we have spoken to so many people with the allegation . . . so you will be one of many, but we need the many, and to at least talk to Ms Filkin.

  J:  Ah you know I am very sure that hardly any people will talk.

  R:  Why do you think that?

  J:  Because you know, they don't want to get involved.

  R:  Right, I would disagree with you, I think that when people . . . because letters have gone out to so many people, I think that many people are going to talk. She's already received Ms Filkin, from what I understand from the people we have spoken to, we have already spoken to three people who have complained to him about the fact that Mr Vaz has accepted payments from various businessmen.

  J:  From what I gather, everyone has made payments to the Labour Party.

  R:  Pardon.

  J:  People have made payments to the labour party itself, if not to MPs.

  R:  That's true, and that's, no, I think people have made payments believing it was to the Labour party.

  J:  Oh I see.

  R:  And not believing that it was but the cheques, one of the cheques that we know about was actually made out to Keith Vaz.

  J:  Ah, I see.

  R:  Not to the Labour Party, and we will be mentioning, you know, we won't be mentioning any name's, and we will be mentioning about allegations as well, um so that is what we are planning on writing, OK?

  J:  OK.

  R:  Obviously you won't lie to the Commissioner when she contacts you, you will have to tell the truth won't you, I suppose, she does have the . . .

  J:  I know, I know she does really . . .

  I may have to be questioned as well, because that's the way that goes, she knows that we did the last story. And she is, I imagine that there is a chance that she will subpoena not just Chris and myself, but also other people who have worked on Leicester, other journalists, who've looked into this whole issue. And there are a lot of us about. I mean (name ??) and various other people who have worked in Leicester, we could all end up . . .

  J:  In court.

  R:  Well not in court, but giving evidence to EF.

  J:  As I said, I am in a very difficult position, we discussed when you were here as well.

  R:  Pardon.

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