31 Dec 2010

Will Prince Andrew resign 'Trade Ambassador' role?

I was disturbed to read about the views of Prince Andrew - he serves as a "Trade Ambassador" for UK Trade & Investment, which is responsible for promoting British arms exports through its Defence & Security Organisation (UKTI DSO).

Photo: Randwick woods earlier in the Autumn

It seems that Prince Andrew thinks corruption in the arms trade is OK. On 29 November a WikiLeaks document revealed that Andrew "slammed" the Serious Fraud Office for trying to prosecute BAE on corruption charges - see the Guardian story here. In response the Campaign Against the Arms Trade have launched a petition seeking dismissal of Andrew in his role as UKTI Trade Ambassador immediately. If these allegations are true then how can Andrew not resign? You can sign the CAAT petition to new Trade Minister Stephen Green at: http://act.caat.org.uk/lobby/56.

Meanwhile in November BAE pleaded guilty to accounting breaches under the Companies Act in relation to its 1999 radar sale to Tanzania. The punishment, handed down just before Christmas - a fine of £500,000, plus costs and an agreement to pay £29.5m to the people of Tanzania. The judge said that there was "moral pressure on the Court to keep the fine to a minimum so that the reparation is kept at a maximum."

CAAT comment: "So BAE's fine is even smaller than originally agreed. To arms giant BAE it is just peanuts - and a small sum compared to the amounts that it is said to have shelled out in "commission payments" over the years."

I have mentioned before on this blog some of the campaigns re BAE - see for example here. It does seem disappointing that once again there is a perception that justice has not been done.

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