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Amenitumia mama Clare Short

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by Edson, Jun 24, 2011.

  1. Edson

    Edson JF-Expert Member

    Jun 24, 2011
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    Hansard 30 January 2007
    Sale of Radar System (Tanzania) [30 Jan 2007]
    30 Jan 2007 : Column 182
    When my hon. Friend the Minister winds up, I hope that he can tell us about the
    progress that has been made on criterion 8 with our European partners, or on an
    international arms trade treaty. I hope that he can also tell us which countries will
    pose the greatest challenge in trying to agree and enshrine such a treaty.

    8.58 pm
    Clare Short (Birmingham, Ladywood) (Ind Lab): I am pleased that the squalid
    British Aerospace sale of a military air traffic control system to Tanzania has reached
    the Floor of the House. All the parties involved in the deal should be deeply ashamed,
    but it is not an issue for party-political point scoring. It is good that the debate has not
    proceeded on that level.
    The truth is that successive Governments of both parties go out of their way to
    promote British arms sales in a way that is unprincipled, is of no economic benefit to
    the UK, distorts our foreign policy and undermines our reputation. The case of the
    Tanzanian air traffic control system is a particularly sordid example of the UK's
    approach to arms sales. I am well aware-indeed, hopeful-that the investigation of
    the case by the Serious Fraud Office might result in criminal charges. That will be
    decided elsewhere. What is important here is for UK politicians to learn the lessons of
    the reality of UK arms sales policy and make real changes so that similar deals are not
    supported in future.

    To that end, I want to put on the record what I know of British Aerospace's contract
    to provide an overpriced, outdated and unnecessarily military radar system to
    Tanzania, and of the powerful support given to the deal by the Secretaries of State for
    Defence and for Trade and Industry, and by the Foreign Secretary and the Prime
    Minister. Let us be clear: although the individuals holding those offices must take
    responsibility for the approach that they adopted, they were reflecting deeply held
    views and values in their respective Departments. The problem is systemic in nature,
    and that is what the House of Commons has to address.

    When the project was being discussed in Whitehall, I argued that it was clear that the
    deal was so useless and hostile to Tanzania's interests that it must have been made
    corruptly. I had no evidence at that time, but evidence has since emerged that large
    payments were made to secure the deal. That is especially shameful when what was
    being sold-to one of the poorest countries in the world-was a useless piece of
    military technology priced far above its real value. We must therefore ask the
    following question: if British Aerospace and senior UK politicians were willing to go
    to the lengths that they did to secure the Tanzania deal, how much further would they
    go when promoting arms sales worth billions of pounds?
    I became aware of the contract when the World Bank representative in east Africa
    objected to the proposed sale. Some officials who had served in the Department for
    International Development for many years were surprised that the project had come
    forward for a second time. I understand that there had been a proposal some years
    earlier for a military air traffic control system to cover the whole country, but it had
    been blocked because Tanzania simply could not afford it. Now it seemed that the
    same project was being split in two and put forward again as a two-stage project.

    30 Jan 2007 : Column 183
    The World Bank representative in east Africa was very concerned about the contract,
    as Tanzania was being considered for enhanced debt relief under the heavily indebted
    poor countries initiative. As a condition of debt relief, HIPC rightly imposes controls
    on future borrowing that require that it must be confined to concessionary lending-
    that is, aid lending not at market rates from organisations such as the World Bank, the
    African Development Bank and so on. It also imposes a ceiling even on concessionary

    In this case, as has been noted, the loan was provided by Barclays bank which, as a
    commercial bank, was clearly incapable of providing a concessionary loan. Barclays
    colluded in this sordid project by inflating the size of the loan, it seems, and then
    pretending that it was concessionary in order to evade conditions set by the World
    Bank and the IMF. The smell given off by the project spread a long way, and Barclays
    has not been held to account, although the hon. Member for North Norfolk (Norman
    Lamb), as his party's spokesman on international development at the time, tried to do
    something in that respect.
    As has been said, the World Bank representative in east Africa then decided to
    commission a report from the International Civil Aviation Organisation on the value
    of the deal to Tanzania. At the time it was argued by the DTI-and some people have
    repeated as much tonight-that Tanzania would earn money from the air traffic
    control fees and that the deal would therefore finance itself. As has been noted, the
    ICAO made it clear that the technology was old fashioned and expensive, that it
    would cover only half the country at best, and that it would not provide Tanzania with
    the air traffic control that it needed to develop its tourist industry. That development
    was very much in the country's economic interest.
    By contrast, as I have said, the European Investment Bank was offering a loan at a
    fraction of the projected cost. From memory, I believe that it put the cost of providing
    air traffic control to three or four east African countries at about £12 million. The
    technology had progressed to the point that a much cheaper and more effective civil
    system was available, and an EIB loan to purchase it was on offer.
    There is no doubt that Tanzania needed a new civilian air traffic control system to
    enhance its earnings from tourism. The British Aerospace system was an overpriced
    and old-fashioned military system that did not meet that need, as the ICAO made

    Sir Robert Smith (West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine) (LD): The right hon.
    Lady is making a powerful analysis of what happened. She said that the DTI had
    come up with the idea that the project might be commercially beneficial to Tanzania.
    Did it undertake an empirical exercise and provide relevant figures, or did it merely
    assume that it was possible that some benefit might arise, and offer no figures in
    support of that assumption?
    Clare Short: I am trying to make it clear to the House that we need to address a deep
    culture in our Government system. The DTI sees it as its duty to push
    30 Jan 2007 : Column 184
    all arms sales deals and will always find arguments for them. That is how it is and any
    incoming Government will face the same culture. We need to change it.
    When the events I was describing were taking place, the Department and I planned to
    offer Tanzania increased aid to help to fund a big new effort to provide free primary
    education for all children-it was great to hear the Secretary of State report an
    achievement figure of 96 per cent. It seemed wrong that our increased aid would
    finance that objectionable project. The hon. Member for City of York (Hugh Bayley)
    said that it would not. Of course it would. If we give money to a country that is
    buying a rotten project for which it has to pay in foreign currency, our increased aid
    is, in effect, funding the rotten project. We cannot turn away from that; we are
    implicated whatever we do.

    I made the decision to cut back our promised aid by £10 million and went to see
    President Mkapa-a man I greatly respect and who did a good job by his country. He
    told me that the contract had been signed before he came to office, a deposit had been
    paid and there was a penalty clause if Tanzania did not go ahead. I concluded that the
    best way forward for all concerned was for the UK to refuse a licence under criterion
    8. As has been said, Robin Cook had raised the threshold for deals made by all EU
    countries to include consideration of whether an arms sale would affect sustainable
    development-a provision that had never been made previously. There is no question
    but that the project affected Tanzania's development and that it should have been
    refused under criterion 8. If anyone argues that it should not have been refused under
    that criterion, we have to change the wording to tighten up the criterion so that we
    adhere to the standard.

    Susan Kramer: Is the right hon. Lady saying that after the presidential election the
    Tanzanian Government were interested in finding a way out of the contract? If so, that
    differs from statements we have heard that a sovereign Government wanted to make
    the purchase.
    Clare Short: The hon. Lady makes an important point. President Mkapa was a
    technocrat and a fine President, but he was not politically powerful and he inherited
    the contract. If the UK had done the right thing by refusing a licence under criterion 8,
    he would have been a very happy man, but there were penalty clauses for breach of
    contract and a payment of about £5 million had already been made.
    The important point is that it was a UK decision. At that stage, I spoke personally to
    the Prime Minister, the Chancellor and the Foreign Secretary-then Robin Cook. The
    Chancellor and the Foreign Secretary agreed that we should stand firmly against the
    deal, but the Prime Minister just listened and gave no undertaking. The 2001 election
    then intervened and Robin Cook was replaced by a new Foreign Secretary who was
    strongly briefed by his Department and strongly supported the deal-the Foreign
    Office is at it, too; it absolutely believes that its duty to the UK is to promote arms

    The argument going on in Whitehall got into the public domain, and the Deputy
    Prime Minister convened an ad hoc Cabinet Committee to try to resolve the problem.
    The clear message from No. 10 was that the
    30 Jan 2007 : Column 185
    deal must go ahead, come what may, and all Secretaries of State were pressurised in
    that direction. We-that is I and officials at DFID, which is a great Department with
    lovely people-were still determined to fight, but only then did we discover that there
    was a secret pre-deal approval system. The Ministry of Defence had given approval
    for the project, which was already under construction in the Isle of Wight, on the basis
    that it would not be contested because it was uncontroversial. The thing was being
    built, people were working on it and by that stage, although we tried, no one could be
    persuaded not to issue a licence.

    It is easy to say that we should cut off aid if there is corruption, but there are many
    poor and hungry people in Tanzania. The aid is for them. Someone else stole the
    money, but if we punish the poor for that we are punishing the wrong people. What
    should we do? That is the dilemma and that is why we need to tighten up our systems.
    President Mkapa and I reached the agreement that if he promised that there would be
    no second half to the project, we would go ahead with increasing our aid. I saw him
    after he had ceased to be President, and he told me that he had kept the promise, so
    although that makes the system even more useless-because it covers only part of the
    country-at least no more money was wasted.
    My conclusion is that we need to ensure that such a project will never again be made.
    If we all agree that it is disgusting-and I think that it is great to see the Tory party
    engaging in this debate-we have a chance to try to clean up our system. Current UK
    policy is based on the assumption that all arms sales are good for the UK economy.
    Read Samuel Brittan repeatedly in the Financial Times and discover that that is not
    the case. No other sector is subsidised with so much political muscle pushing up the
    exports, come what may. If the sector cannot be profitable in its own right, the highquality
    engineers who work in it should be redeployed in other sectors.
    Secondly, there seems to be a belief that somehow we have to have an indigenous
    arms industry as though Napoleon might invade and we need to be able to make our
    own rifles. It is a completely time-lagged notion of the need to prop up and support
    arms exports. One of its effects is that our military gets lousy radios, lousy rifles and
    so forth that would have been better supplied if we purchased some of the equipment
    on the international markets.

    I repeat how pleased I am that the Tory party has raised this issue, but let us go
    beyond the usual point scoring. We have really uncovered something dirty here. The
    sale should never have been approved. All those senior officers in our Government
    should not be promoting dirty arms deals like this. If criterion 8 allows it through, let
    us tighten it up. Let us agree it cross party. Let us clean ourselves up and look again at
    the way in which we organise arms sales for our country. We could improve our
    reputation enormously and improve our relationship with all sorts of countries,
    including some of the poorest countries in the world.
    9.11 pm

    Daniel Kawczynski (Shrewsbury and Atcham) (Con): My right hon. Friend the
    Member for Hitchin and Harpenden (Mr. Lilley) made a very good speech and I
    30 Jan 2007 : Column 186
    concur with his comments about the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood
    (Clare Short), who has acted very honourably throughout this entire process. I want to
    congratulate her-on the record-on that.
  2. Kachanchabuseta

    Kachanchabuseta JF-Expert Member

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  3. Edson

    Edson JF-Expert Member

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  4. VoiceOfReason

    VoiceOfReason JF-Expert Member

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    Sitashangaa kama huyu Claire Short resides somewhere in Lagos Nigeria
  5. M

    Marytina JF-Expert Member

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    Yes move on