UK PM Rishi Sunak fires party chairman Nadhim Zahawi over tax affairs

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Public TV English
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LONDON: United Kingdom Prime Minister Rishi Sunak sacked Conservative Party chair Nadhim Zahawi on Sunday over personal tax affairs, CNN reported.

The recent investigation, ordered by Rishi Sunak, revealed that Zahawi has done a ‘serious breach’ of the Ministerial Code, Rishi Sunak said in a letter given to Zahwiri.

Sunak last week ordered his ethics adviser to investigate Zahawi following claims he had paid a penalty as part of a reported Pound 4.8 million (USD 5.96 million) settlement with tax officials. It was alleged that Zahawi did not declare the dispute with tax authorities.

In a letter, Sunak said, “It is clear that there has been a serious breach of the Ministerial Code. As a result, I have informed you of my decision to remove you from your position in His Majesty’s Government.”

The UK’s Ministerial Code sets out the standards of conduct expected of ministers and how they discharge their duties, as per the report in CNN.

Reports of Zahawi’s multi-million-pound settlement with tax officials shocked Britons, many of whom are battling to survive amid the cost-of-living crisis.

Interestingly, Sunak himself has also been scrutinised over the tax arrangements of his wife Akshata Murty, the daughter of an Indian billionaire. Last year, Sunak and Murty appeared on the Sunday Times Rich List of the UK’s 250 wealthiest people — the newspaper estimated their joint net worth at Pound 730 million (USD 826 million), according to UK-based media publications.

Indian-born Murty is the daughter of Narayana Murthy, the billionaire co-founder of tech giant Infosys and has a 0.9 per cent stake in the company worth hundreds of millions of pounds according to its latest annual report.

In a letter responding to his dismissal published Sunday, Zahawi said it had been the privilege of his life to serving in successive UK governments but he didn’t make any references to the report regarding tax affairs.

“I arrived in this country fleeing persecution and speaking no English. Here, I built a successful business and served in some of the highest offices in government. I believe that in no other country on earth would my story be possible,” the statement read.

Zahawi was appointed chancellor of the exchequer — finance minister — by former prime minister Boris Johnson in July last year. He remained in the Cabinet under Johnson’s successor Liz Truss and her successor, Sunak, who made him party chairman.

According to the UK government site, Zahawi was previously Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Minister for Intergovernmental Relations, and Minister for Equalities from 6 September to 25 October 2022. (ANI)

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