Tanzania (British Investors)

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 11:28 am on 27th February 2008.

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Sarah Hermitage
Posted on 28 Feb 2008 6:02 pm (Report this annotation)

We do not want the intervention of the Chief Justice to mediate in our case. This is an excuse for excusing the conduct of the Tanzanian Government for failing to protect our investment in Tanzania.

We have appealed to the Chief Justice time and time again. He has ignored us.

We have nothing to mediate. Our conduct has and will remain exemplary. Mengi brought 12 civil cases against us, all of which are vexatious and do not disclose a right to sue. They should have been rejected under the Civil Procedure Code of Tanzania.

The Tanzanian government wish now to circumnavigate the rule of law, in an attempt to protect the Mengi name and call a meeting, which has no constitutional or legal basis.

It is an insult from my own government, to hear that we are now expected to mediate with a man that has threatened to kill us, caused misery and pain to our staff and us and has committed criminal act after criminal act, which remain unaddressed. What exactly are we to mediate? We purchased a lawful assignment of a lease, paid the money in full and refused to hand it back when being unlawfully harassed and imprisoned and threatened with our lives.

The suggestion that we should mediate is utterly repugnant. Have we not been insulted enough by the Tanzanian government? It brings shame on any member of the British Government to suggest the fact that we should have anything to mediate and that the rule of law should be sacrificed in this respect.

The Chief justice made this offer when we had fled the country and Benjamin Mengi had, by force and violence invaded our farm. This as President Bush sat in Arusha and praised the Kikwete government.

We ask for support from our government and not, persistent suggestions (as we receive from the Tanzanian Government) that out conduct in any way needs addressing.

You cannot mediate with a terrorist. This issue is not a commercial dispute. It is and remains, a choice that the Tanzanian government had to make. A choice between the lawful interests of an investor and, the criminal activities of a well connected Tanzanian whose connections are supportive of the Presidency. Diplomacy, can never circumnavigate this fundamental fact.

In the inaccurate words off Edmond Burke, ‘corruption flourishes when good men (and women) do nothing’. If the British government continue to fail to address this matter in a manner that will resolve it fairly, then the opportunity for sustainable development in Tanzania will be fundamentally fettered.

One thing is for sure. The issue is not going away.

Sarah Hermitage.