Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Fifth Report

Annex v2

Information from Mrs Rita Gresty concerning Mrs Mary Matin and Ms Maria Fernandes 8 June 2001

Shahanara Mary MATIN (known as Mary)

Formerly Shahanara Mary AHMED,

Nee Shahanara Mary BEGUM

Born Bangladesh circa 1965

Address: Bina Tandoori, * * *

Married Mohammed S. AHMED in Camden February 1995

Married Abdul MATIN, known as Martin MATIN, on 26.1.1999 at Hillingdon Register Office.

Rita Gresty, former personal assistant, has given the following information concerning Mary MATIN and Mrs Maria FERNANDES VAZ:

    ·  C.1994 arrived UK for arranged marriage to a resident Asian, name not known (but now identified as Mohammed S.AHMED, as above).

    ·  This man was mentally ill and abused Mary physically.

    ·  He kept her as a virtual prisoner.

    ·  C.1995—owner of the Bina restaurant 'Abdul' knew of her plight (Abdul has now been identified as Abdul R.MIAH, born 19.8.68)

    ·  He is an associate of Keith and Maria Vaz.

    ·  Together with Mary's brother (name not known, but Rita believes that he is employed here in the diplomatic service—Bangladesh High Commission?), they arranged for Mary to be 'rescued' and taken to live with Abdul MATIN, known as 'Martin', above the Bina restaurant. They had a religious Muslim ceremony and so in her eyes she was married to him.

    ·  Martin was, at that time, married with a family (no details known), but separated.

    ·  Mary immediately started working for the VAZ's, travelling daily to ***, as a nanny. She looked after their daughter * * *, who was then a baby, and their two-year-old son * * *.

    ·  Rita assumes that Mary was divorced during this time, but does not know when.

NB: The above information is hearsay, but obtained from conversations with Mary.

    ·  August 1998 Rita started working for Maria at the VAZ's *** home.

    ·  Mary was on the scene as a nanny and living with Martin.

    ·  Maria paid Mary £1.50 an hour, cash in hand.

    ·  Mary was frightened of Maria and resented being totally at her beck and call. She would have to drop everything and go to ***, even on a Sunday, if Maria suddenly called for her. She loved the children however and was a kind and caring person.

    ·  Rita got on well with Mary and tried to encourage her to stand up to Maria, but to no avail. She appeared to be totally intimidated by Maria.

    ·  Rita believes that Mary was rescued from her former intolerable situation, not out of compassion, but because Keith and Maria VAZ wanted a cheap employee who was also totally beholden to them.

    ·  Mary told Rita that Keith VAZ kept Mary's passport in his Leicester office.

    ·  Maria told Rita that Mary had been in danger of being deported as an illegal immigrant.

    ·  Rita saw a file in Maria's office with Mary's name on it. She did not know its content or purpose, but assumed it was to do with her immigration status. Maria instructed her to send the file to Keith VAZ's office in Leicester. She wondered if her case would be receiving special treatment.

    ·  Maria had been working personally on Martin's divorce, but experiencing difficulty because she had never handled a divorce before. Rita described the situation as "chaotic" and she made numerous phone calls on the subject on Maria's behalf. She cannot remember details of Martin's ex-wife or address etc. She believes the whole process took up to a year to complete.

    ·  January 1999 the divorce finally came through and on 26.1.99, both Keith and Maria VAZ went with Mary and Martin to Uxbridge Register office to witness their marriage./ (The marriage certificate shows that the marriage was formally witnessed by Keith VAZ and Abdul R.MIAH).

    ·  The Director of the Bina Restaurant was Abdul (MIAH). Although he had helped to arrange the marriage between Mary and Martin, the females of his family were jealous of Mary because she had driving lessons and passed her test. She paid for the lessons out of her wages.

    ·  During 1999 Abdul started putting pressure on Martin to get Mary to leave him. He tried to blackmail him and said that unless Mary left, he would be cut off from having a financial share in the business. Rita does not know why Abdul wanted Mary to leave (was in pressure from the females in his family?). Martin refused to co-operate with Abdul, who, Rita says, then cheated him out of his share in the business because he needed money to set up a new restaurant in Edinburgh.

    ·  December 1999—Abdul MIAH left the Bina to start the new restaurant in Edinburgh. Rita believes that he subsequently moved to Berkshire where he had an established, successful restaurant business * * *. Abdul MIAH remained a director of the Northwood Bina Restaurant. (Records show that Abdul MATIN became a sole director in October 2000.)

    ·  Martin continued to live and manage the Bina Restaurant. He was unable to give Mary money because he had to provide financial support to his family from the first marriage. She was dependent on money paid to her as a nanny by Maria and was grateful to her husband for treating her kindly and for providing a roof over her head. Rita believes that Mary loved her husband and that theirs was a true marriage.

    ·  Early 2000—Rita was aware that Mary had to report to the local police at frequent intervals. On one occasion she answered a phone call from a police officer who asked her to confirm that Mary worked for Maria FERNANDES VAZ. Rita tried to get Maria to take the call but she said words to the effect, "I don't want anything to do with it". Rita then confirmed to the police officer that Maria employed Mary. Rita said that Maria was not pleased about the fact that Mary had to take regular time off work to report to police.

    ·  Maria employed live-in au pairs on a regular basis. * * *

    ·  May 2000—Rita went sick with depression and her employment with Maria was terminated in October 2000.

NB: The above information relates to Rita Gresty's knowledge and understanding up until May 2000.

Prepared by Eileen M Eggington QPM

8 June 2001

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Prepared 8 February 2002