Roger Gale, British M.P., Calls for An Immediate Suspension of "Privileged Debt Status" to Tanzania

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British M.P. asks for the immediate suspension of "privileged debt status" to Tanzania pending the immediate cessation of the harassment of British investor Stewart Middleton by Moshi hotelier Mr. Benjamin Mengi.

British M.P. Roger Gale, Conservative Member of Parliament for Thanet North, has called upon the British Government to immediately suspend all privileged debt relief and other aid to Tanzania (http://www.publications.parliament.uk/cgi-bin/newhtml_hl?DB=semsimple&STEMMER=en&WORDS=roger%20tanzania%20gale&ALL=&ANY=&PHRASE=%22gale%2c%22&CATEGORIES=&SIMPLE=roger%20gale%2c%20tanzania&SPEAKER=&COLOUR=Red&STYLE=s&ANCHOR=muscat_highlighter_first_match&URL=/pa/cm200506/cmordbk1/60725w01.htm#muscat_highlighter_first_match). Gale has called for the suspension of the aid based on alleged unlawful harassment and intimidation of British investors in Tanzania. David Stewart Middleton, and his wife Sarah Hermitage who are lawful investors in Tanzania working in the agricultural sector.

In a White Paper dated 25th July 2006, Mr. Gale asked the Minister of State (Trade) Department of Trade & Industry, Ian McCartney, to ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Margaret Beckett if she will ask the Mr. Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for International Development, to "suspend all preferential debt relief and other aid to Tanzania unless and until Stewart Middleton is released from prison, all charges against him are dropped, his lands are confirmed in his rightful ownership and Benjamin Mengi is brought to justice."

Gale made this call as a result of Mr. Middleton's second arrest and his committal to prison for fourteen days in July 2006 at the Court of Resident Magistrate in Moshi, Hai District in the Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania by Hon. Temu (criminal case no. 635).

Hearing a Revision of the committal, (Revision No. 1/2006) on 21st July, Hon. Mwakugile at the High Court in Moshi, released Middleton from prison immediately. His ruling states that there was 'no evidence to support Mr. Middleton’s arrest and refusal of bail and no evidence that Mr. Middleton had any history of disobeying court orders'. He dismissed magistrate Temu from any further dealings with the case stating she was "not free from bias" and that the case contained "irregularities". According to Mwakugile, the principle State Attorney, Mrs Lyimo, offered no evidence on behalf of the Republic and stated, "Mr. Middleton’s arrest is a travesty of justice obtained through corruption and abuse of due process of law."

Mr. Middleton states, "Once again, I was not charged for this offence, I was not cautioned or given access to legal representation. I was simply arrested and kept like a dog in a public cage outside of the High Court in Moshi for four hours and publicly humiliated before being taken before Hon Temu late in the afternoon. No evidence was deduced by the public prosecutor regarding the allegations and one month later, I am still not in possession of any prosecution statements. This is now the fifth court case that the Mengi family has brought against me in abuse of due process of law."

A representative of the British High Commission attended the court and observed a police Land Rover with its engine running, containing four armed police waiting outside of the court to take Mr. Middleton to prison before, the hearing had even begun stating, "Mr. Middleton’s committal was a foregone conclusion". At a further hearing of the case on the 30th August 2006, at which Philip Lord, a representative of the Consular department of the British High Commission in Dar es Salaam attended, the public prosecutor failed to appear and the case was adjourned for a further four weeks.

This is the second occasion that Mr. Middleton has been unlawfully arrested. Readers are referred to an earlier news release for full details of the case (http://www.prweb.com/releases/2006/8/prweb427377.htm).

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Diana Coultard

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