Monday, January 30, 2023

Sunak dismisses Zahawi as party leader because of tax issues

Sunak fires party chairman Zahawi over tax affairs

 LONDON: An investigation found that Conservative Party chair Nadhim Zahawi had not been sufficiently transparent about a tax probe that he settled while he was finance minister, and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak fired him from office on Sunday. After learning that Zahawi had settled a probe by the UK's tax authority HMRC last year, Sunak ordered an independent adviser to investigate questions regarding Zahawi's tax affairs in an embarrassing incident.

According to Zahawi, the tax body decided that he had been "careless" with his declarations but had not intentionally paid less tax. However, Sunak's independent advisor Laurie Magnus stated that when Zahawi was briefly appointed finance minister last year, he failed to disclose that his tax affairs were being investigated, and when Sunak appointed him to his current position, he did not disclose any details.

In a letter to Zahawi, Sunak stated, "Following the completion of the independent adviser's investigation, it is clear that there has been a serious breach of the ministerial code." Consequently, I have informed you of my decision to fire you from your government position."

According to the opposition Labour Party and some of Sunak's own Conservative lawmakers, Zahawi ought to have resigned earlier while Sunak awaited the results of Magnus' investigation. "It is essential that we now receive answers to what Sunak knew," Bridget Phillipson, the education spokesperson for Labour, stated on Sunday.

The removal of Zahawi comes at a time when Sunak's government is badly behind in opinion polls ahead of the likely election in 2024. Magnus stated that the specifics of HMRC's investigation regarding Zahawi's co-founding of the opinion polling firm YouGov in 2000 and the number of shares his father had purchased to support its launch were outside the scope of his own investigation. However, he discovered that Zahawi had failed to acknowledge the seriousness of the affairs being investigated by HMRC or to declare them. In July of last year, reports about Zahawi's tax affairs were characterized as "clearly smears."

"Until last week, when he stated that he had reached a settlement with the authorities, Zahawi did not correct the record." Magnus stated, "I believe that this delay in correcting a public statement that is false is inconsistent with the requirement for openness." reuters

Catch Daily Highlights In Your Email

* indicates required

Post Top Ad