Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Third Report

Annex 52

Letter to Mr Geoffrey Bindman, Bindman & Partners, Solicitors, from the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards

  As I am now approaching the end of my inquiry into complaints against Mr Vaz, I need to write what I hope will be a final letter seeking either new information or clarification of previous replies from Mr Vaz. These matters are as follows:


  1. There still seems to be some confusion over the funding and purpose of the calendars with which Mr Vaz has been associated. The following questions arise:

    (i)  Are the annual calendars and the constituency calendars the same? If not, please explain their respective purposes and sources of funding (I repeat my earlier request for a sight of the relevant accounts).

    (ii)   You state in your letter of 17 July that the constituency calendar carried no advertising, yet in your letter of 2 November, responding to my letter of 3 October, you suggest that the payment from Mr Zaiwalla of £250 in January 1993 "could have been a part payment for the advert in the calendar." Moreover, the copies of the calendars which Mr Vaz provided to my predecessor plainly do carry advertising. Could you please explain this apparent discrepancy?

    (iii)  Please give the names of all those, whether individuals or commercial organisations, which either sponsored, or otherwise contributed toward the costs of producing or publishing, the calendars, with dates and amounts donated.

    (iv)  Why were none of these individually registered (with the exception of Mr Patel in 1999)?

Mapesbury Communications

  2. I am still not clear about the precise areas of activity of Mapesbury Communications. Mr Vaz told my predecessor in 1996 he was setting up the company, which would receive his "income from the Annual Calendar, together with all the income I receive from outside Parliament."

    (i)  What are, or have been, those sources of income from outside Parliament?

    (ii)  What other sources of income does Mapesbury have?

    (iii)  What has the income received by Mapesbury been spent on? (Please give details and a breakdown of the latest turnover figure in the accounts for 1998-99 (£51,428).

    (iv)  Mr Vaz has told me (see your letter of 17 July) that he had had no personal involvement with Mapesbury (in the sense that he was neither a shareholder nor a director, nor did he derive any personal benefit or income from it), but the company's register of members is kept at his London home. Why is this?

    (v)  Why did Mr Vaz say in your letter 17 July that, after the calendar project was abandoned, Mapesbury continued to trade "with new officers", when, according to my reading of the company's accounts, throughout the period since 1995-96 both Mr Vaz's mother and wife have been directors and the sole shareholder has been his wife.

The Premises Fund

  3. If I am to obtain a full and accurate picture of the purpose and source of funding of the premises fund to which Mr Attwal made a donation of £250 (for which he has now provided a copy of the cheque stub), I must see the accounts of the premises fund for which this cheque was paid and other relevant documentation.

    (i)  Can Mr Vaz please supply these, or failing that, tell me who in the Leicester East Constituency Labour Party has the documents in his or her possession, and the address of that person?

    (ii)  During the course of my inquiries witnesses have variously referred to a "premises fund", or a "constituency office fund", a "fighting fund" an "election fund", or a "fund to support the Member of Parliament". Mr Attwal's cheque was made payable to "The Leicester East Constituency Labour Party Premises Account". Could Mr Vaz please list all such funds, of which he is aware, which were in any way linked to the constituency party or to him in his capacity as aMember or a Parliamentary candidate, indicating in each case, the purpose of the fund, its sources of funding and his role in relation to its administration.

Mr Attwal

  4. Mr Vaz has said (in his letter of 2 November) that the Labour Party has confirmed its receipt of a donation of £1,000 from Mr Attwal.

    (i)  What is the source of that confirmation?

    (ii)  Into which Labour Party account was it paid (again, if Mr Vaz cannot supply this information directly, can he please tell me whom I should approach in the Leicester East Constituency Labour Party)?

    (iii)  In an earlier letter, dated 19 March, Mr Vaz told me that the donation from Mr Attwal was received by the Labour Party in 1991-92. But Mr Attwal's cheque was dated 31 December 1992, so that it could not have been in the hands of the Labour Party until early in 1993. Could Mr Vaz please explain this apparent discrepancy?

    (iv)  Mr Attwal has repeatedly stated that although the £1,000 donation was intended for the Labour Party, it was in fact made out to Mr Vaz personally. Can Mr Vaz offer any explanation for this and provide details of (a) his personal account into which the cheque was paid, (b) by what means Mr Vaz ensured that the money eventually reached the Labour Party and (c) supporting documentation?

Mr Asmal

  5. I have received a letter from Mr M H Asmal of Leicester, in which he says:

    "In the short time I knew Mr Vaz, I had been told by members of the business community that he did accept payments especially when it came to his election expenses and that his mother would approach business people for these payments. But I have never seen him take any payments in my presence. However, I have seen his mother ask a person to pay off Mr Vaz's telephone bill, but I cannot remember who this person was, as it was six or seven years ago."

    (i)  Would Mr Vaz care to comment on these remarks, stating in particular how he and Mr Asmal became acquainted and whether he knows of any person who has paid Mr Vaz's telephone bill at any time?

The Dawoodi Community

  6. What was the nature of Mr Vaz's dealing with the Dawoodi Community, in particular in relation to the allocation of land or planning issues in connection with the proposal for a complex of religious buildings in the Hamilton area of Leicester?

  Once again, I apologise for troubling Mr Vaz with a further set of questions, but I am anxious, not least out of fairness to Mr Vaz, to be sure that I have all the information I need in order to be able to complete my memorandum to the Committee. As I have previously indicated, Mr Vaz will have an opportunity to see my memorandum in draft in order to make any comments or suggest corrections of fact.

27 November 2000

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