Ian Paisley jnr's deep interest in African affairs
Published 26/09/2013 | 01:30
Ian Paisley jnr concedes that his long-standing interests in Africa will come as a surprise to many people in Northern Ireland.
"I keep them to myself but I declare them as and when appropriate," he said.
He clearly enjoys high level access.
"One of my meetings was with the Prime Minister of Uganda," he said. This is a reference to Patrick Amama Mbabazi, who leads the National Resistance Movement political party.
Mr Paisley said he was approached by EBI SA, which had heard of his other work. "I know many missionaries and my initial interest was in helping them," he said.
"I have a huge interest in Africa as a continent of developing nations. I also have an interest in African democratic activities and commercial activities there."
Mr Paisley was an unpaid mediator in the peace process in Guinea Bissau and a UN observer at the elections there.
He has also set up a company called QUBRIC along with Jeffrey Donaldson, DUP MP for Lagan Valley, Mr Donaldson's brother Lt Col Kingsley Donaldson and Emma Little, one of Peter Robinson's special advisers.
Mr Paisley confirmed: "I am a director of QUBRIC. It is not for profit and it had nothing to do with my work in Uganda."
He said this was his first trip to the African country.
The issue follows publicity about Mr Paisley's parliamentary expenses. A fortnight ago the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority published figures showing that he claimed more than any other MP, a total of £232,042.33 to April 2013.
These expenses were in addition to the MP's salary of £65,738.
Mr Paisley said most of his expenses were spent running constituency services – £131,837.76 was spent employing his four full-time and two part-time staff, while £69,943.21 went on parliamentary expenses.
He described them as "unavoidable costs an MP incurs whilst running a busy constituency office and commuting to Parliament", and said he had "one of the highest speaking records" there.