Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Fifth Report


744.  The complaints from Mr Robathan, Mr Lansley and Miss Eggington, which related to matters examined during the previous inquiry, implied that Mr Vaz may have been less than frank with the Committee, or with me, and thereby may have misled us.

745.  The information provided by the Today programme and The Daily Telegraph also raised questions about whether Mr Vaz should have used the opportunity which I had offered him during the previous inquiry to ensure that his register entries regarding his property interests were complete and whether as Mr Vaz had not done so, he might therefore have misled me.

746.  The information provided by The Financial Times about Mr Vaz's non-executive directorship at General Mediterranean Holding SA (UK Ltd) and that provided by Mr Robathan about the donations from Lord Paul to Mr Vaz's office raised further questions as to whether Mr Vaz had made a complete and timely entry of all his financial interests in the Register of Members' Interests.

747.  Some of the answers which Mr Vaz provided on these and other matters which I have set out in detail in the body of this memorandum were, in my view, inaccurate. Though, initially, Mr Vaz might have been mistaken in some of his replies, he has not corrected them during the nine months of this inquiry. For example, his answer to the then Chairman and me that neither he nor his family had received payments from the Hinduja brothers is untrue. His wife has carried out considerable paid work for the Hinduja business.

748.  In addition, some of the information provided by others with whom Mr Vaz is closely associated, cannot be described as full and frank. For example, certain answers to my questions given by his wife Ms Fernandes, and by his "long term family friend"[157], Mr Hanif Pathan, who was for several years employed by Mr Vaz from the House of Commons Office Cost Allowance, were inaccurate. Indeed, some of these responses appear to have been deliberately misleading. Although Mr Vaz offered to obtain information himself, he did not do so and I was therefore obliged to rely on his wife and Mr Pathan to provide it.

749.  I have described such instances in detail in the body of the report and annexes. The following are examples:

    —  Ms Fernandes denied that she had assisted Mrs Matin with her immigration problems, whereas I have established that she had informed the Immigration Service that she was representing Mrs Matin;

    —  During the last inquiry Ms Fernandes told the Committee that the list she provided of payments over £1,000 was complete, yet when she sent the list to the Chairman during this inquiry she stressed that it should not be considered conclusive.

750.  Mr Pathan, who was delegated by Ms Fernandes to provide information to me:

    —  said that no payment had been made to Mapesbury Communications by the Hinduja brothers and only acknowledged such a payment when reminded of it by me;

    —  said that he had not booked the conference venue at the Connaught rooms when he had;

    —  gave a clear impression that Coleridge House was unknown to him by saying it meant nothing to him, when he had attended meetings there; and

    —  gave misleading information about the winding up of Mapesbury Communications.

751.  Over and above such instances I am concerned that Mr Vaz has given me some inaccurate information about complainants or witnesses which might have misled me as to their motives or credibility. For example Mr Vaz:

    —  maintained that Mr Peene was not a civil servant at the time of the meeting about which Mr Peene, who was (and remains) a civil servant, had complained;

    —  said that Mrs Gresty was involved in an industrial tribunal case against his wife, Ms Fernandes, which was not true; and

    —  sought to discredit Mrs Gresty's evidence by repeatedly referring to her period of ill health.

157   Annex i6. Back

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