Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Fifth Report

Annex i20

Letter to Mr Keith Vaz MP from the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards




Further to our meeting on Monday 26 March I have received a letter from Ms Eileen Eggington supported by a signed statement from Mrs Rita Gresty asking me to investigate possible undisclosed financial connections between you and the Hinduja family or Foundation. I would be grateful to receive your response to these allegations.

You will recall that the Chairman couched his request to you in the following terms -

    "Please would you also state whether you, or any member of your family, has received or been associated, in any way, with any other payments or benefits provided by the Hinduja family or their Foundation and, if so, provide full details."

It is for this reason that I draw to your attention all the allegations in this letter rather than those which apply solely to you. In particular, Mrs Gresty alleges that —

    (1)  You have been "unduly influenced by the wealth of the Hinduja's" and as a result your wife has been "used by the Hinduja's to highly preferential treatment in obtaining British passports and visas". She provides as examples —

      (a)  that Ms Fernandes assisted Mrs SH with her passport application in late 1999 or early 2000 which was expedited very quickly.

      (b)  that Ms Fernandes assisted the Hinduja family in acquiring a visa for a "lady servant".

      (c)  that a computer "boffin" who worked for Mr Gopal Hinduja was assisted with a visa application by Ms Fernandes. When he refused to pay her a usual fee of £2,400 for this advice, Ms Fernandes sought the assistance of Mr Gopal Hinduja to obtain payment. The cheque was then received in full.

    (2)  That you received invitations (and presumably hospitality where you accepted them) from the Hindujas.

    (3)  Large quantities of flowers were provided to you by the Hinduja family.

In the statement Mrs Gresty raises the matter of another gift from another business which Mrs Gresty says was provided to you. This was regular provision of pre-packed frozen food. Since this might be registerable I would be grateful to receive details of this arrangement if Mrs Gresty's description is accurate.

28 March 2001

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