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BAE Systems

Volume 542: debated on Tuesday 20 March 2012

8. What recent discussions he has had with the director of the Serious Fraud Office on penalties imposed on BAE Systems following the company’s conviction for offences connected with the sale of a radar system to Tanzania. (100659)

I have regular meetings with the director of the Serious Fraud Office, and I discussed that issue with him recently. On Thursday 15 March the SFO announced that a memorandum of understanding between the Government of Tanzania, BAE Systems, the SFO and the Department for International Development had been signed, enabling a payment of £29.5 million plus accrued interest to be made to support educational projects in Tanzania.

This is the first time that a British company convicted of financial crimes has been required by our courts to compensate victims in a developing country, but it has taken more than a year for the payment to be made. Do the Government intend to change the law to empower judges to impose penalties of this kind and to enforce quick payment, instead of relying on the voluntary agreement which led to the payment of compensation in this particular case?

I hope that the hon. Gentleman will support me when, later in the current Parliament, I introduce deferred prosecution agreements to the criminal justice armoury. Such agreements will deal with penalty payments, but also, where appropriate, with the payment of compensation, and the payments will be made as a result of court orders.