In November 2014, The Foreign and Commonwealth Office organised a trip to Tanzania in order to promote Tanzania to British businessmen as a country for foreign direct investment.
The responsibility of the UKTI in respect of British business in Tanzania (as stated on it’s Internet site https://www.gov.uk/government/world/organisations/uk-trade-investment-tanzania) is to help companies in Britain increase their competitiveness through overseas trade in Tanzania... offering professional, authoritative & personalised assistance.
The British High Commission’s Internet site in Tanzania states the following:-
UKTI's team in the country can provide market information, contacts, practical assistance, i.e. arranging appointments, advice, mentoring and on-going help before they travel to Tanzania and while they are in the market.
In November, David Billingsby, UKTI International Trade Adviser lead a delegation of businessmen to Tanzania stating, “having worked in Tanzania before, I know the excellence of the reception these British companies will receive. I am certain that the mission will be successful and the delegates will be saying Asante sana!”
David Bilingsby (right) Head of the UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) London/South East Trade Mission to Tanzania fields questions from journalists during a press conference
He led 14 UK companies cutting across various sectors e.g. Education and Training, Security, Consultancy, Healthcare amongst others are hoping to penetrate new trade opportunities within Tanzania.
Whilst in Tanzania, in a move to encouraged British business in Tanzania (this was the purpose of the delegation) the British government arranged for the British business delegates to meet with Reginald Mengi. Reginald Mengi is Chairman of the Private Sector Foundation in Tanzania and is owner of the powerful IPP Media network.
More importantly, Reginald Mengi is a man who was found by the UK High court to be complicit in corruption that destroyed British investment in Tanzania. The seriousness of the corruption is stated in a press release from lawyers carter Ruck who defended British investor in Tanzania Sarah Hermitage when Mengi sued her in the London High Court in 2012. The judge found that Reginald Mengi and his witnesses and lied to and misled the court with LJ Bean stating:-
“I find that the campaign in the Guardian and Nipashe facilitated Benjamin’s corruption of local officials and intimidation of the Middletons and thus helped Benjamin to destroy their investments and grab their properties; and that Mr [Reginald] Mengi, since he either encouraged or knowingly permitted the campaign, was in that sense complicit in Benjamin’s corruption and intimidation”.
The ceaseless, savage and vile abuse the British investors suffered at the hands of the Mengi family can be read in the judgment at the following link.
The British government and David Bilingsby show utter contempt to the British investors, to the rule of law and civil society and to Lord Justice Bean whose judgment their conduct belies.
It is also suggested here, that HMG and the FCO has been negligent in it’s duty to inform and protect British investors in Tanzania.
In the Independent newspaper on 28th November Mengi stated that he was “gratified” to meet the UKTI mission and that LJ Bean’s judgement was “faulty”.
That, says a great deal about the British government and its commitment to protect British investors overseas.