Pak origin Brit minister in the dock for failing to disclose information about expenses

June 12th, 2009 - 5:45 pm ICT by ANI  

Gordon Brown London, June 12 (ANI): Britain’s new Communities Minister of Pakistani origin, Shahid Malik, failed to disclose information about his use of parliamentary expenses to the official inquiry that cleared him of breaking ministerial rules over paying of rents.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown brought Malik into the Government three days ago after he was cleared of breaching the ministerial code over the rent arrangements for his constituency home.

The continued controversy over Malik’s affairs has raised questions about Brown’s judgment in bringing him back to the Government, The Telegraph reports.

Malik did not tell Brown’s investigator of ministerial standards that he was using Commons allowances to pay rent for “office space” on the ground floor of his home in his Dewsbury constituency. This was in addition to his separate, main constituency office.

He failed to disclose the existence of the second office to Sir Philip Mawer, the Prime Minister’s adviser on the ministerial code.

As a result of Sir Philip’s inquiry, Malik has been exonerated over his rental dealings and reappointed to the Government. Sir Philip faces calls to reopen the inquiry into Malik’s affairs.

The second office arrangement meant that Malik was claiming public money for “office space” on the ground floor of his Dewsbury home, as well as for his designated second home in London.

Malik may face a Parliamentary inquiry into why he used his MP’s expenses to pay rent for office space in his house, something forbidden by Commons rules.

The report says that Malik avoided paying capital gains tax on the sale of a house in Burnley last year.

The Prime Minister reappointed Malik to the Government on Tuesday. He had stepped down last month as a minister after the paper reported a claim by his landlord Tahir Zaman that he was charging Malik well below the market rent for his Dewsbury home. (ANI)

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