Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner
for Standards from Finers Stephens Innocent, Solicitors
We write further to our telephone conversation
with you on, Wednesday 24 May.
Firstly, we wish to clarify the position as
regards our letter to you of 23 May 2000. You told both us and
our client, that you read this as an indication that our client
was refusing to meet with you. This is not the case. We had understood
from our client that you had made various suggestions as regards
a proposed meeting with him, culminating in an invitation that
he meet with you on Thursday 25 May. Our letter had intended to
inform you that he would not be able to make any such meeting
on Thursday 25 May, not as you read it, any meeting at all.
We have, however, yet to form a view as to whether
it would be appropriate for Mr Kapasi to meet with you. As we
explained to you, we have not yet had the opportunity to discuss
this matter with our client and to advise him. Accordingly, we
are not yet in a position to advise whether he even has information,
which might assist your enquiries. As we also informed you, Mr
Mark Stephens who is now dealing with this matter is unavoidably
out of the country on business until Monday 12 June but will deal
with this matter expeditiously on his return, and will in any
event revert to you with a progress report by Wednesday 14 June.
As we informed you in our letter of 23 May and
on the telephone, our client has no intention to be deliberately
unhelpful in this matter. Indeed, he has already written four
letters to you confirming and re-confirming his position. However,
he does of course wish to seek advice from us which you acknowledged
and appreciated is entirely appropriate and sensible.
Mr Kapasi reported to us on 24 May, that you
had threatened that if he did not meet with you on Thursday 25
May as you had proposed, you would have him arrested. However,
when we spoke to you, you confirmed that what you had intended
to do, was simply to explain to him the Committee's power to require
him to give evidence before them, and not to leave him with the
impression that you had the power of arrest and to compel attendance
at your office. We both expressed our concern that the impression
left with Mr Kapasi should be so wide of the mark.
You informed us that at any proposed interview,
you will be putting certain allegations to him as made by third
parties as have been fully disclosed to him in advance. For our
part, we informed you that what you have said to us and to our
client, appears to be part at odds with our understanding of our
instructions and until we have investigated this further, we are
not in a position to advise our client as to whether or not he
should meet with you.
In al the circumstances, therefore, we are not
able to agree to a meeting at this stage, but as we have said
will revert to you by Wednesday 14 June.
We are, as you know, instructed by him to act
on his behalf in this matter. We trust that now we have established
contact, there will be no further need for you to discuss this
matter directly with our client. In that way hopefully no further
misunderstandings can arise.
Finally, you advised us that your desire to
meet Mr Kapasi is the last thing holding up your enquiry. We have
yet to see the other submissions and would be grateful to receive
a copy of the other submissions and in particular Mr Soulsby's
and Mr Vaz MP's submissions to you.
1 June 2000