DR ANDREW POCOCK CMG
Former British High Commissioner to Tanzania
(Presently British High Commissioner to Canada)
“Mr Middleton is not a criminal. There is no evidence that he has broken Tanzanian law in any way. Yet he is arrested without charge and taken by armed guard before a magistrate.”
from the High Commissioner
22 November 2005
Mr Adadi Rajabu
Director of Criminal Investigation
PO Box 9093
Dar es Salaam
Mr and Mrs Stewart Middleton, Silverdale Farm
I should like to put on record a matter of great seriousness, involving UK citizens and investors in Tanzania.
Stewart and Sarah Middleton bought a farm – Silverdale – in Moshi from Mr Benjamin Mengi. They did so entirely legally and transparently. But for the last year, Mr B Mengi has been trying to regain the property. The Middleton's have documented a series of what they consider to be illegal efforts to repossess the property. These have included intimidation, and even death threats to them personally.
They have sought police assistance, but the evidence is that the local police do not seem impartial. A very serious incident took place on 21 November, when Mr Middleton was arrested on what appear to be entirely trumped-up grounds. He and a colleague were seized by local policemen, never formally charged or given an indication of the charges, and taken before a magistrate under armed guard. Even when they were before the magistrate, there was no charge sheet, nor did the magistrate make any effort to obtain one.
We support the rule of law in Tanzania. Unfortunately, this incident shows a flouting of that rule. I attach a lengthy statement from Mr and Mrs Middleton, which puts the legal case into perspective, and provides a detailed readout of the events surrounding Mr Middleton's arrest. Their conclusion is that the charging process by the police had been skipped altogether. Given all the circumstances, this could amount to a case of false arrest.
I also enclose a letter from Mr Middleton to the Regional Crime Officer of Hai District, dated 20 November. This is a complaint about police facilitation of Mr B Mengi’s entry into Silverdale Farm on 12 November. Mr Middleton has copied this letter to me and to the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs.
You will no doubt be concerned, as I am, by what appears to be continuing intimidation of a bona fide investor in Tanzania. Part of this intimidation seems to be coming from the local police force. Mr Middleton is not a criminal. There is no evidence that he has broken Tanzanian law in any way. Yet he is arrested without charge and taken by armed guard before a magistrate. I would welcome the chance to discuss this case further with you. I would be particularly grateful for your help in ensuring that the Moshi police operate within the parameters of Tanzanian law. I am particularly mindful of the efforts of the Government of Tanzania to encourage legitimate investment, and concerned that a British National who is the source of such investment – and of local employment and exports – should be subjected to harassment that does not reflect Tanzania’s traditional hospitality.
I look forward very much to discussing this with you. Many thanks for your help. I am copying this letter and its enclosures to Capt. John Chiligati, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs.
Cc: Hon Capt. John Chiligati, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs