A statement last week from Edward Hosea, Tanzania’s most senior anti-corruption officer, that no Tanzanian was involved in the BAE radar scandal was, to put it mildly, remarkable. The ‘scandal’ under reference was the notorious sale of a military air traffic control system to the Tanzanian government in 2000/2001, a deal that was blatantly corrupt, and was referred to by the then Secretary of State for International Development, Clare Short, as “squalid.” BAE Systems was eventually compelled, by a combination of a recommendation through the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), and British government, to pay back £29.5 million to the Tanzanian people, to be spent on educational resources – a payment that was made in March 2012.
What is even more remarkable is the fact that Hosea’s statement has attracted no comment from the British government or international media.
Britain’s Department for International Development and the Commons’ International Development Committee, who worked tirelessly on behalf of the Tanzanian people to organize the payment directly to the Tanzanian government amidst staunch opposition, have also failed to respond to this extraordinary comment by the head of Tanzania’s Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB).
The rising levels of corruption in Tanzania under the Kikwete regime is well documented, but this statement by Hosea, reported in Tanzania’s part State owned newspaper the Daily News on 31st March if accurate, demonstrates an arrogant refusal to address it.
Hosea’s statement is, if reported accurately, simply beyond satire.
The problem is further compounded by the fact that when opening the Executive Committee meeting of the International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities (IAACA) in Arusha last week, Kikwete praised Hosea and the PCCB for the latter’s remarkable success in fighting corruption in Tanzania and blamed international corporations for fuelling corruption on the African continent.
Former British High Commissioner to Kenya Sir Edward Clay makes the following comments in a letter published in UK’s Financial Times. “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.”
Seemingly, Tanzanian leaders now not only act with impunity, but also with indifference to the British public who, in times of austerity continue to support a country that is rich in minerals resources and the third largest gold producer in Africa. Is it now the case that the British tax payer is to support without question the giving of aid to states that simply refuse to adhere to minimum standards of governance and who, as in this case, show contemptuous disregard for their efforts?
At the IAACA meeting, Kikwete also pointed out that over 50 per cent of the countries’ internal taxes and more than US $30 billion of Aid and grants money sent to the developing countries ended up in corrupt officials’ pockets on annual basis.
With statements such as this from Tanzania’s most senior anti-corruption officer, it is not difficult to see how!
Sarah Hermitage is a British Lawyer and anti-corruption activist.