AN OPEN LETTER: To BAE systems: Do not return radar money to tz government
June 24th, 2011
To Whom It May Concern
NOT AGAIN: DO NOT RETURN RADAR MONEY TO THE TANZANIAN GOVERNMENT
We are a loose network of Tanzanians around the world bound by a simple desire to see and promote transparency, the rule of law, accountability and responsibility by our leaders to the people of Tanzania. We are not affiliated with any political party in the country. Our members - rich and poor, educated and uneducated, young and poor - are spread along all ideological lines and are representative of the cross section of the country. While some members live abroad, most of them are within the country.
At our initial call for investigation on the purchase of the military radar by the Tanzanian government we had had written an open letter to the British Government in 2007 part of which was read by Mr. Norman Lamp (MP for North Norfolk, Liberal Democrats) on January 30th, 2007#. In our letter then we argued that the purchase of the dual use radar was morally and ethically wrong among many other things and we demanded that the British government should initiate an inquiry. We are grateful that our call and that of others made the current situation possible.
It was Ms. Short who declared then that “It was always obvious that this useless project was corrupt”. Mr. Lamb speaking in the House of Commons he bemoaned “That deal was conducted by a British company, and it was sanctioned by the British Government. We owe it to the Tanzanian people to establish the truth of this scandal.”
We have followed closely since then and with keen interest the investigations and its outcome as well as our own government’s shifting positions concerning the civilian-military radar purchase. The voices of Tanzanians at home and abroad from the very beginning in 1999 were loud and clear; they wanted the government to stop the process of procuring Watchman Air Traffic Control System for it was highly overpriced and the environment of its procurement process had all the classical signs of grand corruption#. Our voices were united with those of other activists around the world and some vocal British politicians came out to support our pleas of desperation and opposition of the deal.
We recognize the immense work by Ms. Claire Short (then Secretary of State for International Development) as well as that of Mr. Norman Lamb who prepared an extensive dossier on the case for the House of Commons and who was willing to read part of our initial letter. We recognize as well the voices of some international organizations among them Oxfam, All these voices were ignored and dismissed with ridicule.
The Tanzanian leadership which now demands “respect” from BAE Systems - by asking BAE return the he money to the government - has miserably failed to take legal and strong action against the individuals who were involved in the deal. It has failed to push for extradition of Sailesh Vithlani whose account was suspected of being used to transfer the “extra” money to a group of corrupt elements in the Tanzanian government and who still roams free in the UK. This same government has not brought any serious charges against Vithlani besides charging him in a low court for “lying to investigators”. How can search a government command respect? How can it even use the word “respect” in its official dealing?
Even more, the Tanzanian government is rampant with corruption and has created unchecked culture of misappropriation of public funds at all levels of its structures and has done a mediocre job in prosecuting and curbing the vice. The nation’s Chief Auditor and Controller General annual report testify to this. In the last year alone (2009/2010) over $2 Billion - almost 25 percent of the national budget was lost through corruption.# The current administration has refused to investigate President Mkapa or his then Attorney General Mr. Andrew Chenge for their involvement in the matter.#
We recognize that as part of the settlement between BAE Systems and US’s DoJ as well as with British Serious Fraud Office the “the company will pay an agreed penalty of £30M comprising a fine to be determined by the Court with the balance paid as charitable payments for the benefit of he people of Tanzania”. The settlement did not direct BAE to return the balance to the Tanzanian government and there was a good reason for that.
We believe BAE should consider any, some or all of the following venues when deciding where to inject the money for the benefit of Tanzanians; if requested we are willing to propose a mechanism that will be used to ensure the goal of returning the money for the benefit of the people of Tanzania is achieved to the highest degree.
a. Construction or expansion of Business or Law Schools in selected Public universities in Tanzania (mainland and Zanzibar).
b. Financing the rehabilitation, expansion, and modernization of selected ageing hydro-power plants in Tanzania to alleviate the country from another self-inflicted power shortage. The Tanzanian Bi-partisan Parliamentary Committee on Energy and Mining can advise BAE on which plant needs such an immediate rehabilitation and improvement.
c. Modernization and improvement of selected Ward Secondary Schools by providing them with better and improve sanitary environment, secure buildings and needed housing and other facilities to make quality education possible. If only $250,000 were to be spent per each school over 84,000 schools will be brought into the modernity of the twenty first century within few months! By the way we do not have 84,000 ward schools. We only have about 5000 public secondary schools (Ward and Government owned). This simply means even with improving the schools here will be enough money to improve the quality of teachers in these much despised public schools. We believe this will be the most beneficial course of action to the Tanzanian people.
d. Expansion and improvement of some selected Women health facilities some of which have been neglected by the government for quite sometime. Some of these are the Temeke District Hospital as well as Mwananyamala Municipal Hospital. Some of the facilities and infrastructure at these two hospitals are so run down that they have become the pariahs of our national health system.#
Of course we understand the opposition of the Tanzanian government to let BAE decide where and how it is going to return the money to the Tanzanian people. The only excuse is that this was “government’s money”. This is a lame and shameful excuse.
However, if the Tanzanian government will be adamant to refuse BAE to spend the money directly to improve the lives of the Tanzanian people then we have the following proposals we beg you to consider.
1. All the funds should be put into an escrow account bearing interests until such a time when there will be a leadership in the country that will be willing to allow BAE spend the money directly to benefit the our people. It doesn’t matter how long that will be.
2. BAE should enter an agreement with the Tanzanian government on selected projects (selected by BAE) that the Tanzanian government will receive returned money in increments (remainder could still be in escrow) and spend it on those projects monitored by negotiated third party to ensure that the value for money standard is met.
3. The government identify a social service project or a number of projects which will benefit in a long-term basis a greater number of a given population (for example not less than 50,000 people) and BAE will underwrite them.
We urge the panel of advisors to reject Tanzanian’s government demand to be awarded the money and that any dispensation of this money will have to directly be beneficial for the people of Tanzania. The money should not be returned to the very people and system that misspent it in the first place. This would be a travesty of justice, a clear and upfront endorsement of a corrupt political regime by the BAE Systems. This must not be allowed to happen. A mechanism and structure should be created that would be transparent, inclusive and with a people-centered mandate to make sure that all the funds returned are used to up-lift the livelihood of the people of Tanzania.
BAE Systems will show itself as a friend to the Tanzanian people by returning all the money due to the Tanzanian people directly by supporting projects that will improve their lives by raising their living standard without subjecting the funds to unneeded and sometime cumbersome bureaucracy of the government institutions and hungry politicians.
We the undersigned as Citizens of United Republic of Tanzania we ask you to consider.
For those who want to support this stance:
Copy the following passage:
SUBJECT: OUR VOICE: I Support
As a Tanzanian citizen, i want to express my support of the letter sent to you by the Consortium of Concerned Tanzanians International pleading to the Advisory Board NOT to return any money resulting from the agreement with the Serious Fraud Office to the Tanzanian government. Our government has failed to take any serious action against the people involved and it has rejected all demands of investigating former President Mkapa and his administration of their involvement. Its record on the fight against corruption is dismal and negligible. We believe a mechanism outside the bureaucracy of the Tanzania government can be set to channel and monitor how the funds will be spend "for the benefits of Tanzanian people"
Thanks for your support of the people of Tanzania
Send to (any or all of them):
Vice Chair of the Advisory Board
Phillipa Foster Back OBE
Member of the Advisory Board
Secretary of State for International Development
Hon. Andrew Mitchel
Hon. Norman Lamb
NB: DO NOT SEND THE WHOLE LETTER; THE LETTER HAS ALREADY BEEN SENT WITH ALL THE CONTACTS FROM US. JUST SEND THE STATEMENT OF SUPPORT.
As ordered By
CONSORTIUM OF CONCERNED TANZANIANS INTERNATIONAL