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Monday, 12 March, 2001, 16:40 GMT
Keith Vaz: The allegations
Keith  Vaz
The report took more than a year to prepare
Europe Minister Keith Vaz faced 18 separate allegations of wrongdoing ranging from soliciting money to failing to declare links with businessmen.

An investigation by the House of Commons Standards and Privileges Committee upheld only one of one of those complaints and recommended that no action be taken.

It cleared him of nine allegations.

Consideration of the eight remaining claims of wrongdoing were not completed after Mr Vaz's solicitors told the parliamentary commissioner for standards, Elizabeth Filkin, that the minister would not answer further questions from her.

The one charge upheld against Mr Vaz concerned his failure to reveal his links with lawyer Sarosh Zaiwalla whom he recommended for an honour in 1997.

Running costs

Mr Zaiwalla had paid 250 to Mr Vaz in 1993 towards the running costs of his constituency office and had paid a further 200 for an advert on a 1994 calendar "associated with Mr Vaz".

Ms Filkin concluded that those payments were a breach of the code of conduct because a financial relationship had been created between the pair, which should have been declared.

Allegations that Mr Vaz received more substantial sums of cash from the lawyer were described by the committee as "inconsistent and unsatisfactory".

Both Mr Vaz and Mr Zaiwalla had denied that any cash was paid or solicited.

No evidence

The committee also decided that there was no evidence to support claims that Mr Vaz had agreed to a request from Mr Zaiwalla to try to influence an investigation into the lawyer's tax affairs.

Ms Filkin investigation cleared Mr Vaz of other allegations of wrongdoing, including one that a Leicester councillor "had made" the Sikh business community donate 10,000 to Mr Vaz's 1997 election campaign.

The investigation also cleared him of using a car from a jewellers in Leicester without declaring it during that campaign, and dismissed a suggestion that Mr Vaz received housing benefit as rent from a tenant in one of his properties without declaring it.

Mr Vaz was also cleared of making misleading or inaccurate entries in the MPs' Register of Interests, and Ms Filkin found no evidence to suggested that he had broken the rules when he spoke in the Commons about a failing bank.

Leicester links

An investigation into four allegations that Mr Vaz had solicited money from businessmen in his Leicester constituency were "not completed".

These allegations - all strongly denied - included a claim that Mr Vaz had offered to help one businessman, Jaffer Kapasi, to secure planning permission for a mosque in return for 500, in 1991/92.

It was also alleged that Mr Vaz received three payments from Mr Kapasi between 1992 and 1996 "in respect of decisions" relating to the mosque.

Keith Vaz
Mr Vaz was cleared by the report
A further complaint alleged Mr Vaz had solicited 500 from three different religious groups seeking to buy land at discounted prices from Leicester City Council.

And there were claims that Mr Vaz received cheques from another Leicester businessman, Bakshish Attwal.

The other outstanding claims which have yet to be resolved, included an allegation that a councillor on Leicester City Council, Mustapha Kamal, had made payments of 8 per month to Mr Vaz, at his request for four years.

Fundraising club

The commissioner was also unable to find out if the money raised by a constituency party fundraising club, established by Mr Vaz, was being spent "for proper purposes" when it appeared that the funds collected were more than those distributed.

Allegations that Mr Vaz had failed to register one of the two properties he owns in Leicester and that he may have used money from Mapesbury Communications - a company he set up and which was run by his immediate family - to support his parliamentary office, without declaring it, were also not fully investigated.

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See also:

12 Mar 01 | UK Politics
Vaz cleared but questions remain
06 Mar 01 | UK Politics
Vaz set to escape censure
10 Feb 01 | UK Politics
Vaz rejects property claims
06 Feb 01 | Talking Politics
Vaz: Is the coverage racist?
26 Jan 01 | UK Politics
Keith Vaz: Minister and networker
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