Zahawi faces fresh questions over expenses loophole for outside income

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi faces fresh scrutiny of outside earnings he was able to keep secret thanks to expenses loophole – after making £1.3million from oil firm

  • He earned more than £1.3 million from a role with Burmuda-listed Gulf Keystone
  • He received a salary of £20,125 a month, for working 8- 21 hours per week
  • Total outside income unknown: carried it out via Zahawi & Zahawi consultancy

Cabinet minister Nadhim Zahawi was facing fresh scrutiny today over his income from second jobs after using a legal loophole to shield his total earnings.

The Education Secretary earned more than £1.3 million from a role with Bermuda-listed Gulf Keystone from 2015 until he became a minister.

But his total income from second jobs since becoming an MP in 2010 is unknown because he funnelled it through a consultancy firm, Zahawi and Zahawi, which he set up with wife Lana before being elected MP for Stratford in 2010.

There is no suggestion any rules or laws have been broken. But Sir Alistair Graham, a former chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, told the Mirror: ‘This could be interpreted as a deliberate attempt to get around the rules so that he doesn’t have to admit the scale of his earnings in a consultant capacity.

‘The important thing to stress is that MPs have their personal responsibility to ensure that they comply not only with the letter but the spirit of the code of conduct.

‘Constituents have a right to know how much time and money he is taking separate to his political work.’

The Education Secretary earned more than £1.3 million from a role with Burmuda-listed Gulf Keystone from 2015 until he became a minister.

But his total income from second jobs since becoming an MP in 2010 is unknown because he funnelled it through a consultancy firm, Zahawi and Zahawi, which he set up with wife Lana before being elected MP for Stratford in 2010.

Mr Zahawi, the Iraq-born founder of YouGov, was appointed chief strategy officer at Gulf Keystone Petroleum in 2015 and reported outside earnings which were the equivalent of an annual salary of £765,000. 

He received a salary of £20,125 a month, for working between eight and 21 hours per week. 

In addition to that, he received a string of bonuses between January and June 2016, adding up to £78,246.38, plus a payment of £52,325 made in September 2015 for 210 hours work, backdated to July last year.

He resigned after being made Minister for Children and Families.  This year he replaced Gavin Williamson as Education Secretary after being vaccines minister.

Previously, Zahawi acted as an adviser to Afren, another oil company that went under in 2015 

Born in Baghdad to Kurdish parents in 1967, Zahawi left Iraq with his family as a nine-year-old boy, under threat of persecution from Saddam Hussein’s regime.

He grew up in Sussex and was educated in London. Before entering Parliament, he was an entrepreneur: an early venture, selling Teletubbies clothing, went under and backers including former Tory grandee Jeffrey Archer, lost their stakes.

Zahawi went on to act as an aide to Archer and to co-found YouGov with Stephan Shakespeare, another of the disgraced Tory peer’s lieutenants.

The pair were reported to each have holdings worth £5.7million in YouGov when it floated on AIM in 2005.

Mr Zahawi has been approached to comment. 

Source: Read Full Article