Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner
for Standards from Mr Sarosh Zaiwalla
I write to confirm that the allegations which
have appeared in some of the Sunday newspapers that "thousands
of pounds" were given to Mr Keith Vaz MP's Parliamentary
office when he was Shadow Spokesman are completely untrue.
Neither the firm of Zaiwalla & Co nor I,
have at no time made any payments to Mr Vaz MP or his Parliamentary
office, nor did Mr Vaz approach either me or my firm to give him
I give below full and frank disclosure of all
my dealings with Mr Vaz over the years.
1. I have now known Mr Vaz over many years
as an eminent figure in British Asian society.
2. From time to time Mr Vaz and I have had
interactions on issues mainly connected with the Asian society.
I believe we both share the same goal of working to see the "new"
British Asian community enter the mainstream of British society.
3. A couple of, or so, years ago we found
ourselves on the same side championing the cause of the depositors
of the failed Asian Bank BCCI. However, both Mr Vaz and I throughout
this unfortunate saga acted entirely independently for our respective
interests. I, for my clients, through the legal process, and Mr
Vaz politically to ensure the protection of the Asian community's
interest. At no time did Mr Vaz introduce directly or indirectly
any clients to my firm of Zaiwalla & Co. I also confirm that
Mr Vaz did not receive a penny in remuneration from my firm, and
to my knowledge nor did he receive any remuneration from the firm's
4. I have over the years been a personal
supporter of Mr Vaz's activities in the Asian cause. This has
been more in the form of moral and political support personally
for him. He has from time to time invited me to attend social
events which he organised and I had done likewise. Such events
are usually one or two a year but possibly could be more frequent.
5. Over the 15 years or so I have known
him I have sponsored or taken a table at various Asian social
and charity events which Mr Vaz has also supported. I believe
in 1993 or 1994 Mr Vaz asked me if I would help out one such charity.
I agreed to make a contribution of £1,000.
6. In 1998 my firm took a table at a dinner
in a London five star hotel organised by the Asian Business Network
Group (cost £500) which Mr Vaz, I believe, had organised
and where the chief guest was the Home Secretary, Mr. Jack Straw.
6. At approximately the same time at the
request of Mr Vaz, I agreed to a sponsorship at £500 to cover
part of the costs of a charity of an Indian musical concert given
in London by the daughter of the Indian sitar maestro, Ravi Shankar.
8. I had attended the Jack Straw event but
did not personally attend the Indian musical evening.
9. Besides these events supported by Mr
Vaz, I confirm that neither my firm nor I made any payments by
cash, cheque, in kind or inferred any financial benefit directly
or indirectly either to or on Mr Vaz MP or his constituency party,
or his family.
I further confirm that I do not know of any
of my firm's clients who have done so.
I trust the above assists you with your investigation.
I would be happy to state the above on oath if you require me
to do so.
The Complainant, Mr Milne, stands wholly discredited
and his evidence given on oath in Court was not believed by three
English judicial bodies. His Honour Judge Cowell in the Central
London County Court described Mr Milne's conduct as being unbefitting
of a solicitor. You already have a copy of Judge Cowell's judgment.
As Mr Milne's complaint to you about Mr Vaz has received vast
press publicity, it is only fair and just to both Mr Vaz and me,
that you complete your investigation at the earliest possible
time, and for you to ensure that an equally wide publicity is
given to your findings. Mr Milne, as you already know, was declared
bankrupt in 1992, which bankruptcy was subsequently annulled under
an IVA from which his creditors received eight pence in the pound.
At the time of his bankruptcy the total debt he owed was £1.2
million to some 108 creditors.
I would also request you to please take all
steps possible to ensure after your investigation is completed
that severe sanctions are taken against Mr Milne for abusing the
process to serve his own ends. Mr Milne is currently being investigated
by the City of London Policy for false accounting and theft and
he has so far failed to honour the substantial monetary award
in my favour made by the Sole Arbitrator, Sir Brian Neill, which
has been registered as a Judgment in the High Court. Mr Milne
is also the subject of at least one Bankruptcy Petition which
is returnable on 15 March 2000.
In the light of the serious nature of the allegations
which have been made by my ex-employee, Mr Milne, whom I had dismissed
for misconduct, I am taking the liberty of copying this letter
to The Speaker of the House of Commons, Rt Hon Mr Tony Blair,
Prime Minister, The Lord Chancellor and Mr Vaz MP.
8 February 2000