British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has fired Conservative Party Chair Nadhim Zahawi after an independent investigation into his tax affairs found a serious breach of the ministerial code.
“Following the completion of the Independent Adviser’s investigation – the findings of which he has shared with us both – it is clear that there has been a serious breach of the Ministerial Code,” Sunak said in a letter to Zahawi on Sunday.
“As a result, I have informed you of my decision to remove you from your position in His Majesty’s Government.”
The independent ethics adviser Laurie Magnus found that Zahawi had been misleading when he said that reports last July over his tax affairs were “clearly smears”.
Zahawi did not correct the record until last week, when he said he had reached a settlement with the authorities.
“I consider that this delay in correcting an untrue public statement is inconsistent with the requirement for openness,” Magnus said in a letter to Sunak.
He added that Zahawi had shown “insufficient regard” for the requirement “to be honest, open and an exemplary leader through his own behaviour.”
“Mr. Zahawi’s conduct as a Minister has fallen below the high standards that, as Prime Minister, you rightly expect from those who serve in your government,” he said.Pre Birthday interview: Birthday Party of Haija Faidat Sarumi Akintunde
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The tax issue relates to Zahawi’s co-founding in 2000 of opinion polling firm YouGov, in which he said his father had taken a stake to support its launch.
However, Britain’s tax office disagreed with the number of shares given to Zahawi’s father, when the issue was raised during his appointment as finance minister last year.