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SFO in bid to speed up court proceedings

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Siasa' started by n00b, Oct 13, 2009.

  1. n00b

    n00b JF-Expert Member

    Oct 13, 2009
    Joined: Apr 10, 2008
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    (Hii iliwekwa na kamanda BaK)


    The long-awaited bribery and corruption trial over the purchase of dubious military radar equipment by the third phase government of ex-president Benjamin Mkapa is now set to land in a British court in a month or so, it has come to light.

    This follows the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO)’s latest move to hire a top criminal lawyer, Timothy Langdale, to help submit a properly-prepared corruption case to the British attorney-general within the next three weeks.

    Of particular interest to local observers is whether the charge sheet to be prepared by the SFO will cite the names of senior Tanzanian officials alleged to have received bribes from arms supplier firm BAE Systems to approve the 28 million pounds sterling (58bn/-) radar purchase.

    Langdale, a former legal counsel with the UK Treasury, is regarded as one of Britain's top criminal lawyers and has featured in many prominent fraud trials.

    Senior legal sources in the UK say the SFO is also considering helping the US Department of Justice broaden its own inquiry into BAE Systems, to include contracts in Africa and central Europe.

    The SFO is understood to have pulled resources off other cases in order to focus on the 2002 Tanzanian radar deal, in a bid to force a quick result over BAE.

    It has set an internal deadline of the end of October for presenting its case to UK attorney general Baroness Scotland, who will then decide whether a full-scale prosecution should be launched.

    The hiring of Langdale, early case deadline, and hint of further contact with the Americans are all seen as fresh attempts by SFO to pressure BAE into accepting a plea bargain deal over allegations of overseas bribery.

    BAE, which continues to deny any wrongdoing, has faced years of scrutiny from the SFO, which in 2006 controversially abandoned an investigation into Al-Yamamah, a deal in which Britain sold arms to Saudi Arabia with BAE as the main contractor.

    The SFO was at the time widely accused of bowing to political pressure. But the detective agency has continued to investigate BAE deals in Tanzania, South Africa and the Czech Republic.

    In April this year, it began talks over a possible plea bargain whereby BAE would pay a hefty fine and admit a lesser offence than bribery.

    But the talks broke down 10 days ago, with the two sides unable to agree on either the wording of the plea or the amount to be paid.

    British defence industry insiders believe the ongoing legal manoeuvring will eventually lead to a deal. "Neither side wants a trial, which would last years and could be damaging to both sides," said one source.

    Events in London are being closely watched in Dar es Salaam, where the Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) has been conducting its own investigation into the radar deal.

    PCCB director-general Dr Edward Hoseah told THISDAY recently that the Bureau was waiting for official confirmation from the SFO on whether or not it will prosecute BAE Systems. The SFO and PCCB have been working closely in their separate but parallel investigations of the radar scandal.

    British investigators have already questioned at least two Tanzanians in Dar es Salaam 'business tycoons Shailesh Vithlani and Tanil Somaiya' as part of their investigation.

    Other prominent local personalities regarded by the SFO as key suspects in the long-running corruption investigation are former attorney-general Andrew Chenge and ex-Bank of Tanzania governor Dr Idris Rashidi.
  2. Chapakazi

    Chapakazi JF-Expert Member

    Oct 13, 2009
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    Ivi SFO si iko chini ya serikali ya Uingereza? Na kama ni hivyo, hizi serikali mbili zitashindwa kucheza dili na kesi iminywe kwa ajili ya 'usalama wa taifa'?