Thursday, 10 April 2008

BAE investigation should not have been stopped

Very interesting and encouraging news just through regarding the government's decision (through the Serious Fraud Office) to stop its investigation into BAE corruption...

Court rules Government's termination of BAE investigation unlawful

The High Court this morning ruled that the Director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) acted unlawfully when he stopped a corruption investigation into BAE Systems' arms deals with Saudi Arabia.

The judgment was handed down by Lord Justice Moses and Mr Justice Sullivan in response to a judicial review brought by Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) and The Corner House.

In the light of this judgment, the Serious Fraud Office must reopen the BAE-Saudi corruption investigation immediately. Both groups are calling upon the SFO to work jointly with US and Swiss investigators in doing so. [and there's a lot more background information in the press release]

On the last point they make, there seems to be some ambiguity, however, with the BBC saying "The judges in London did not rule that the case would be reopened, but have said they would listen to further arguments. "

No doubt this will be clarified soon. Congratulations of CAAT and Cornerhouse and to all their supporters for peristing with this.

It is also important to note at this point the following, released by CAAT and The Conerhouse just last week:

"As The Corner House and Campaign Against Arms Trade await judgment on their landmark judicial review of the decision by the Serious Fraud Office to halt its BAE-Saudi Arabia corruption investigation,[1] the Government has introduced draft legislation that would prevent such a judicial review in future.

Clauses 12-14 of the draft Constitutional Renewal Bill [2] propose to create a new power for the Attorney General – a political appointee and member of the Government – to stop a criminal investigation or prosecution on the grounds of 'national security'. This new power allows for extremely limited oversight by
Parliament and prevents and future review by the judiciary of such a decision. "

.... and, again, it continues with a lot of additional background to this.