This is particularly amusing. The British governemt has responded to my exposure of their attempts to thwart anti-corruption investigations in Ghana. They could not bring themselves to use my name, and sought to denigrate the article as anonymous internet comment. (In fact it was written for Ghana’s Insight newspaper which has been conducting a series of investigations into this matter).
This is the official British government statement:
Recent allegations circulated on the internet assert that the UK Government is trying to stop Ghanaian anti-corruption investigations. This is demonstrably false and deliberately misleading.
It then details the only anti-corruption abroad prosecution ever brought against a British company, the Mabey and Johnson case (M and J actually did a lot of good in Ghana, but that’s a long and different story).
But then comes the real jaw dropper:
The British Government’s opposition to bribery and corruption is unequivocal: The Foreign Bribery Strategy, launched by Anti-Corruption Champion Jack Straw on 19 January 2010, builds on the government’s anti-corruption work over the past three years and aims to help the UK strengthen its reputation as one of the least corrupt countries in the world. And the new Bribery Bill, making its way through Parliament at present, signals a concerted effort to make the UK a leader in international anti-corruption efforts.
Have these people no shame? Jack Sraw anti-corruption champion? The MP for BAE? The man who has spent 13 years in government fighting for the interests of BAE and shielding them from successive investigations and prosecutions for corruption?
The man who broke anti-treating laws in his own election?
Jack Straw is a the epitome of the corrupt New Labour machine politician. Now for some news from genuine anti-corruption champions:
As part of its continuing efforts to press the UK government to stop
turning a blind eye to the corrupt activities of British corporations
abroad, The Corner House this week joined Campaign Against Arms Trade
(CAAT) to request a judicial review of a recent controversial plea
bargain that would let arms manufacturer BAE Systems off the hook for
alleged bribery in several European and African countries.
Nicholas Hildyard, for The Corner House, said of the decision by the
UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) to allow the deal:
‘Plea bargains should only ever be entertained when companies have
really come clean. BAE has not. Once again, an SFO decision has
reinforced the UK’s reputation for letting big companies get away with
‘The SFO’s blatant disregard for the rule of law is damaging lives and
democracy abroad. We are undertaking this action in solidarity with all
Lawyers acting on behalf of The Corner House and CAAT wrote to the SFO
Director on Friday 12 February to signal their intention to request the
judicial review of the SFO-BAE settlement.
Under the SFO settlement, announced on 5 February 2010, BAE would plead
guilty to minor charges of ‘accounting irregularities’ in its 1999 sale
of a radar system to Tanzania for which the SFO proposed it should pay
penalties of 30 million pounds sterling. The SFO would not bring charges
relating to alleged bribery and corruption in BAE’s arms deals elsewhere.
The basis for the legal challenge is that, in reaching this settlement,
the SFO failed properly to apply prosecution guidance (including its own
guidance). In particular, the plea agreement fails to reflect the
seriousness and extent of BAE’s alleged offending, which includes
corruption and bribery, and to provide the court with adequate
The groups also argue that the SFO has unlawfully concluded that factors
weighing against prosecuting outweigh those in favour.
Kaye Stearman, CAAT’s spokesperson, says: ‘It is in the public interest
that BAE should not be let off the hook.’
The groups’ lawyers also requested that the Serious Fraud Office delay
applying for court approval of its settlement with BAE Systems. If it
does not do so, the two groups will seek an injunction against the court