I AM INDEBTED TO ‘STAN’ OF THE NEATH FERRET FOR HELP IN WRITING THIS PIECE
The name Malik will be familiar to regular readers of this blog if only because of Naz Malik, former boss of race relations charity and Labour agitprop outfit the All Wales Ethnic Minority Association (AWEMA). I have written about Naz Malik more than once, so to refresh your memories you might care to work back from this post of September 8th, 2014, published shortly after the end of Malik’s trial.
One of the major issues exposed by the AWEMA scandal was that of nepotism, though of course this is no crime. Indeed, it’s the cornerstone of the family business; but beyond that sphere the favouring of relatives will be judged on the company’s performance, and investors or shareholders will demand changes in the management if it is felt that nepotism is responsible for declining performance and falling profits. Yet in a publicly-funded body, where the money just keeps rolling in, and with no criteria by which to judge performance, it becomes almost inevitable that nepotism will flourish unchecked.
Nepotism goes some way to explaining what went wrong with AWEMA. At CEO was Naz Malik; then there was daughter Tegwen, whose salary shot up from £20,469 in January 2008 to £50,052 in August 2011 for no apparent reason; while another who worked for AWEMA was Naz Malik’s daughter-in-law Ourania Chatsiou who, along with her sister-in-law, was, bizarrely, among the creditors when the funding plug was pulled early in 2012. Though the major creditor, the ‘Welsh’ Government, recently wrote off most of the £300,000 it was still owed by AWEMA. Naz Malik’s wife, Bronwen, and son, Gwion Iqbal, were also involved with AWEMA, as ‘volunteers’.
Another thread in the AWEMA saga is the Malik family links to the Labour Party. The patriarch himself had entertained hopes of standing for the party, and could be relied on to use the public profile he’d gained from Labour-funded AWEMA to regularly attack ‘racist’ Welsh nationalists. The aforementioned scion of the House, Gwion Iqbal, stood for the party in the elections to the Notional Assembly of 2011. (There used to be a photo available on the internet of Gwion Iqbal canvassing with First Minister Carwyn Jones, but unsurprisingly it seems to have disappeared.)
Something else that always troubled me about AWEMA was the bland statement made on the Charity Commission website that, in addition to operating in Wales, AWEMA had a presence in Kenya and Pakistan! Remember, we were dealing here with EU and UK money allocated to Wales, and yet no one thought to question why AWEMA claimed to be using that money overseas. One answer of course is that Naz Malik had been born in Nairobi to parents of Pakistani, or pre-Partition Indian, heritage. As had Naz Malik’s sister, Fahro. Or rather, that explains the family’s background; while the lack of concern in official quarters can probably be explained by the Labour Party connection.
I first became aware of Fahro Malik when I saw a link to a charity called Lynk Reach Ltd (Charity No: 1104188) on the AWEMA website. (Lynk Reach Ltd was removed from the Charity Commission Register on January 14th this year.) Its charitable objective was “To advance the education of children and young people 0 – 25 (sic), primarily but not exclusively in London”. There was also a company called Lynk Reach Ltd (Company No: 04678217) Incorporated on the 25th of February 2003. Strangely, Fahro Malik seems not to have been a director of this company, though among the founders was an Anthony Malcolm Finch, a headmaster, who was Fahro Malik’s husband. Finch wrote an internet restaurant guide and died suddenly in February 2007. Someone who joined the company later was Zoe Samia Malik-Kemp. Lynk Reach Ltd is now dissolved.
A connected company was Lynk Ray Ltd (Company No: 04261595) which pre-dates Lynk Reach Ltd, having been Incorporated on July 30th 2001. The founding directors were Anthony Malcolm Finch and Fahro Malik. This company is also dissolved. Finally, we have Lynk Write Ltd, Incorporated June 19th 2003 (Company No: 04804457). The only two directors were Fahro Malik and Anthony Malcolm Finch. This company is also dissolved. The most recent mention I can find for Fahro Malik is on the London Writers’ Café website, from where the photograph comes.
Fahro Malik has escaped the notoriety of brother Naz and the Swansea branch of the clan, but still leaves behind a failed charity and dissolved companies owing money to some poor bugger. Fahro may also regret involving her other brother, Munir, with Lynk Ray Ltd as a director and company secretary from August 3rd, 2007 until the company dissolved, probably towards the end of June, 2013. That’s right, another brother, of whose existence I was unaware until it was brought to my attention by Stan of Neath Ferret. So what’s Munir’s story?
Munir Malik is another Labour Party stalwart, and has served a couple of non-consecutive terms as a councillor in Bexley, south east London . . . though since his brush with fame he has been deselected from his Thamesmead East ward. To explain . . .
In addition to the Labour Party, for which he also stood as a candidate in the London region Euro elections of 1999 and 2004, Munir Malik was involved with the Co-op Group, serving as a regional representative before being elevated to the National Board. His wife, Kathryn Smith, another Labour councillor in Bexley, was herself on the National Board of the Co-op Group from 1997 to 2008 and on the Board of the Co-op Bank from 2001 to 2009, where she worked with Paul Flowers, the drug-taking Methodist minister and former Co-op Bank chairman. (Also known as ‘the Crystal Methodist’.) Kathryn Smith left the Co-op Bank in 2009 to stand as Labour & Co-operative candidate for Gravesham in the 2010 General Election. A seat that the Tories had won in 2005 by just 654 votes became a safe Tory seat in 2010, with a majority of 9,312. Labour’s loss of votes may have been connected with Smith being done for drunk driving just days before the poll.
Misfortune continued to dog the Malik-Smith household when Munir Malik was forced to resign from the Co-operative Group Board for telling fibs about his qualifications. To be specific, when running for election to the Board he claimed to be a chartered accountant . . . ‘Oh no he’s not!’ said the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, ‘and only members of the ICAEW are allowed to call themselves chartered accountants’. Munir sought to explain away this little inconsistency by arguing that what he meant to say was that he had been a chartered accountant . . . until he was struck off for bankruptcy in 1991, and had simply forgotten to prefix his qualification with ‘former’. Something of a habit, apparently, for the ICAEW claimed to have previously warned him to stop claiming to be a chartered accountant. Though Malik countered with: “All my working life has been spent as a former chartered accountant”. Um, yes . . . exactly!
All so predictable, and familiar, for as this Daily Mail piece on the Malik / Flowers fiasco puts it, “Malik belongs to what one insider described as a closed group who have come to dominate the Co-op despite its democratic structure of elected boards” and later, “Former City Minister Lord Myners was appointed to assess the Co-op Group’s system of elections and appointments. He resigned last week in the face of bitter resistance from board members but plans to complete his review”. Sound familiar? Of course it does, for this is another dysfunctional and undemocratic element of the great ‘Labour Movement’, another that preaches democracy but has never seen any need to practice it, especially for its internal procedures. We could be talking here about ‘Welsh’ Labour . . . and we soon will be!
So where are they now? Well, it seems that the Malik womenfolk have retreated to academia and scholarly pursuits. Fahro Malik, as she told the London Writers’ Café website, is probably researching the family’s journey from the Punjab village of Rohtas via Kenya to Wales and England. Tegwen Malik, Naz’s daughter, is carrying out research in biomimetics (don’t ask me!) at Swansea University, while Naz’s daughter-in-law, Ourania Chatsiou, is also at Swansea Uni, doing post-graduate work. Which serves to remind us, yet again, of the close links between the Labour Party and higher education in Wales, and the mutual back-scratching.
Some of you reading this may be ‘uncomfortable’ with the fact that so many of those dealt with belong to ethnic minorities. Get over it! I’m writing about the Maliks not because of their race, colour or religion but because a) they’ve done wrong, b) they all seem to have Labour Party connections, c) despite the shit they get themselves into, they seem to come up smelling of roses, which, d) allows me to expose, yet again, the squalid relationships between the Labour Party, the Third Sector, academe and other spheres of our national life.
So you mustn’t think that nepotism is confined to persons of Pakistani origin from East Africa, no, no, no, no, no. This is a Labour Party problem, something encountered wherever Labour has power and, more importantly, where Labour has control over funding. For we don’t need to leave Swansea Bay to find celebrated current examples of nepotism encouraged or condoned by ‘Welsh’ Labour where the principals are all of impeccably white and Christian backgrounds.
Let us return to Swansea University, and this time the School of Management. There, the Dean, one Nigel F. Piercy, has appointed his son Niall as Pro-Dean for Research, and his love interest, Nikala Lane, as a Reader in Marketing and Strategy. Partly as a result of this blatant nepotism, and partly by being a bit of an arsehole, Piercy has contrived to alienate just about everybody he is supposed to be working with. Yet his position seems secure.
From the Mumbles Road campus one can look across the bay to Port Talbot where, on May 7th, the electors of the Aberavon constituency will be expected to put on their blinkers, empty their minds, and troop like zombies into the polling stations, there they will grasp the stubby brown pencil on a string and come momentarily to life when they see on the ballot paper the magic name KINNOCK. Tears of gratitude will flow as they recall how young Stephen was not parachuted in – as malcontents allege – but walked all the way from his Copenhagen home to vie for the honour of representing Aberavon (‘it is Aberavon, is it?’) and was chosen only after an open and keenly-contested selection process that lasted months.
Because, boys and girls, that’s how the Labour Party operates, and don’t let anybody tell you different. The Labour Party is, to the best interests of Wales . . . what the Ku Klux Klan is to good race relations, what Japanese cuisine is to whales, what the conquistadors were to the civilisations of Mesoamerica, what the iceberg was to the Titanic, what the driving maul is to modern rugby, what the CIA is to privacy, what Rhyl is to Welsh cultural identity, what the Sinclair C5 was to motoring, what China is to Tibet . . . In short, a disaster.