And so, Prime Minister, the African Bank of Development report on the St Louis bribery scandal is highly confidential.
And so, Prime Minister, as a self-proclaimed man of principle, you refused to go back on the word you gave the bank that you will keep it strictly confidential.
And so, Prime Minister, you kept it so confidential that you confidentially shared it with your former deputy prime minister.
And so, Prime Minister, you also confidentially shared selected parts of the report very confidentially with journalists and the whole nation in a press conference.
“You again entrusted all the new laws on money laundering to a laundering machine – the Independent Commission against Corruption – the same institution that the whole world saw run to your defence at the Privy Council in the MedPoint case.”
And so, Prime Minister, your former deputy prime minister also saw the need to highlight, with the same insidious innuendos, the parts of the report you both decided deserved no confidentiality.
And so, Prime Minister, the report was so confidential and your commitment to your principles so unwavering that you took the report to the National Assembly with you with no intention of sharing it with the opposition. Instead, you brandished it at them and alluded to the fact that the then-leader of the opposition – Paul Bérenger – was involved in it and said in so many words that he is now ‘tasser’ (stuck).
And so, Prime Minister, your ministers and MPs, through a wee stretch, accused Joanna Bérenger of being a thief, daughter of a thief. All this while referring to a highly confidential report which you persist cannot be disclosed because you gave your word and, as a man of principle, bla bla bla.
And so, Prime Minister, the whole world and the organisations that black and greylisted us all watched how we deal with confidential reports at the highest echelons of our highest institutions.
And so, Prime Minister, the African countries that used to look up to us with awe but who have now started cancelling their treaties with us watched the same scenes with the same bated breath.
And so, Prime Minister, we, in turn, watched the UK sign agreements with other African countries we used to be a role model for and saw Rwanda making its way to replacing us as a financial centre for Africa.
And so, Prime Minister, you sat in parliament with your colleagues to debate the Anti Money- Laundering and Combatting the Finance of Terrorism bill to try and convince the European Union and the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) that we do not deserve to be on the black and grey lists.
And so, Prime Minister, 18 pieces of legislation were amended to try and combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism. These were added to the 18 pieces of legislation amended last year at about the same time with the result that we know.
And so, Prime Minister, you again entrusted all the new laws on money laundering to a laundering machine – the Independent Commission against Corruption – the same institution that the whole world saw run to your defence at the Privy Council in the MedPoint case.
And so, Prime Minister, we heard your ministers, who are either gullible or totally oblivious to what is happening in the rest of the world, talking about our jurisdiction as being a ‘financial centre of choice for international investors’ and that we are ‘a trusted and appreciated jurisdiction’. We would have laughed under other circumstances but we are too deep in despair and anguish to do that.
And so, Prime Minister, the only hope we now have is that the European Union, the AfDB, the FATF…have not discovered the internet yet. It is a wish which my fairy godmother has as many chances of granting me as the desire to see the ICAC really combat corruption and its cousin, money laundering ‘without fear or favour’.