April 12, 2012 5:29 am
Tanzania’s perpetrator-less crime
From Sir Edward Clay.
Sir, You reported (“BAE pays £29.5m to Tanzania”, March 15) the arrangement under which BAE Systems paid restitution to Tanzania’s education sector, as part of the plea bargain agreed over BAE Systems’ notorious sale of radar to Tanzania 10 years ago. This bargain broke new ground – for the UK’s Serious Fraud Office, which extracted the penalty, and for the Department for International Development and the Commons’ International Development Committee, which took credit for helping organise how the payment was made.
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The impact on Tanzania’s own corruption is less positive. The Tanzanian government’s anti-corruption tsar has just proclaimed, according to the media, that no Tanzanian was involved in the dirty deal. This was apparently a perpetrator-less crime. Only the intermediary, whose name is freely bandied about, has dirty hands. But it seems he had no contacts in the Tanzanian administration who approved or processed the deal he had set up. End of case.
The doctrine of impunity under which leaders and officials are absolved of wrongdoing has thus been extended in Tanzania. Grab the money and run. A proper anti-corruption policy should have four characteristics and one overarching principle. The first four are proper and publicly credible investigation, retribution, restitution, and repair, so that corrupt conduct does not recur. In Tanzania, only the third – thanks entirely to the UK’s SFO – is visible. The Tanzanian investigation is flawed, to put it mildly, and the other elements altogether absent. Far from repair, the fabric of their law has been further damaged.
The overarching principle? Good faith – not visible on the part of the Tanzanian government towards their own people or to the UK. DfID and the IDC congratulated themselves for their part in this deal: what do they now have to say about this shabby outcome?
Edward Clay, Epsom, Surrey, UK