FAMILY OF Vaccine MinisterSets Up Medical Company
Nadhim Zahawi’s wife and two sons have established a new company called ‘Warren Medical Limited’
The wife of Vaccine Deployment Minister Nadhim Zahawi is the owner and director of a newly-established medical company, Companies House records show.
Lana Saib is listed as the owner, with a 75%+ shareholding, of a firm called ‘Warren Medical Limited‘. The company was incorporated on 10 June 2020 under the name “Zahawi Warren Limited”, before being changed a day later to its current title.
On its Companies House page, Saib’s firm is listed as trading in real estate, yet its name clearly indicates a healthcare specialism. The company does not appear to have a website that could provide more information.
The two other directors of the company – Ahmad Shanshal and Jaafar Shanshal – are the sons of Zahawi and Saib. Indeed, in May 2019, Zahawi tweeted a picture of his son’s Princeton University thesis, which featured the name “Ahmad Shanshal”.
Saib and the Shanshal brothers are also directors of two other family-run firms: Zahawi and Zahawi Limited, and Zahawi Properties Limited. Nadhim Zahawi – Conservative MP for Stratford-on-Avon since May 2010 – was a founding director of Zahawi and Zahawi, a buy-to-let housing company, established in June that year.
The politician resigned his official role in the company in January 2018, after being appointed as an Education Minister, transferring his shares to Lana Saib. It is believed that Zahawi and Zahawi holds a property portfolio of at least £25 million.
Following a Government reshuffle in July 2019, Zahawi was appointed as Under-Secretary of State for Business and Industry – a role he still holds. Following the development of multiple vaccines to address the COVID-19 pandemic, Zahawi was also appointed as Under-Secretary of State for COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment in November 2020, working within the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
The Ministerial Code stipulates that ministers “must ensure that no conflict of interest arises, or could reasonably be perceived to arise, between their public duties and their private interests, financial or otherwise”. While little is known about the new medical company run by Zahawi’s family, it is reasonable to suggest that there may be a considerable risk of the project causing a perceived conflict of interest, at the very least.
MPs are also required to declare conflicts of interest, which are then publicly released. Zahawi’s register of interests, as of 7 December 2020, did not note his family’s role in Warren Medical Limited.
The experience of the Zahawi family in healthcare is also unclear. While Zahawi and Saib have engaged in various business projects – Zahawi has even gone into business with Lana Saib’s brother, Broosk – it doesn’t appear as though either have a background in medical trading.
While there is no suggestion of wrongdoing on the part of Zahawi’s family, it is unclear how this new business corresponds with his ministerial responsibilities.
A DHSC spokesperson said: “There is no conflict of interest. This company has never been active and has never made a financial transaction, and any suggestion of wrongdoing is misleading and categorically false.”
Byline Times has approached Nadhim Zahawi for comment.
A Family Affair
This is not the first time a Government minister has faced with scrutiny about their business links during the Coronavirus pandemic.
As revealed by Byline Times in December, a firm with links to the family of Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock has been awarded a £5.5 million contract for the provision of mobile testing units. The chairman of EMS Healthcare, who has been a director of the company since 2013, is Iain Johnston – a former business partner of Shirley and Robert Carter, Hancock’s mother and stepfather.
This followed a story published by the Guardian just a few weeks earlier, exposing how the Government had awarded a multi-million-pound contract for the supply of test tubes to the ex-landlord of Hancock’s local pub.
Meanwhile, the business interests of Kate Bingham – outgoing chair of the UK’s vaccine task force – have been heavily scrutinised. In November, Bingham faced questions about whether she would personally benefit from a £49 million taxpayer-backed investment into a fund run by her private equity firm.
It is often been remarked that Parliament has among the greatest concentration of millionaires in the country. A large number of MPs have extensive business ties and this income is often required to fund their campaigns. However, the way this trend seems to have manifested during the pandemic is of an entirely different order of magnitude.