In what appeared to be fine example for Pakistani politicians, Conservative Party Co-chairman Baroness Sayeeda Warsi apologized to British Prime Minister David Cameron over a ministerial trip to Pakistan with her business partner.
The Pakistani-origin politician was alleged by a newspaper to have failed to declare that she and Abid Hussain, who was on the trip in 2010, had stakes in the same company.
According to BBC, she apologized to Cameron for any embarrassment to the government. The British premier had directed his independent adviser on ministerial interests to look into the matter.
Warsi claimed, “She said Mr Hussain was her husband’s second cousin and this was widely known, both to her private office and the British High Commission in Pakistan”.
She, however, confessed that she didn’t realize the fact that they had to declare a mutual business interest as minority shareholders in a small food company.
She noted, “I sincerely regret that I did not consider the significance of this relationship with Mr Hussain when the arrangements for the visit were being made. In retrospect, I accept that I should have made officials aware of the business relationship between Mr Hussain and myself, and for this I am sorry”.
Regretting that this incident may have caused embarrassment to the government, Cameron said, “There are clearly some lessons for future handling and I have asked Alex Allan, my adviser on ministers’ interests, to consider the issues that have been raised with respect to the Ministerial Code and to provide advice to me as rapidly as possible”.
Last week, the Sunday Telegraph reported Baroness Sayeeda Warsi did not declare her directorship and shareholding in the spice company, Rupert’s Recipes.
Meanwhile, some lawmakers want the investigative agencies probe separate allegations over accommodation allowances she withdrew from the government.
She is already being investigated by a parliament watchdog over reports she claimed accommodation allowance while staying with a friend rent-free.
The co-chairman defended herself saying that she made an appropriate payment to her friend.
However, the owner of the property in Acton, west London, Dr Wafik Moustafa, said he never received any money from her.