Touria Prayag's Blog

l’express Weekly May 18 2012

Posted in Uncategorized by touriaprayag on May 18, 2012

Who needs the truth?

Brimming with satisfaction and spurred on by the cheers of her
colleagues from the majority, MP Stéphanie Anquetil planted
her question about the rosewood suspected shady deal. As she
normally does, her question to the prime minister was half in English
and half in French, trying very hard to expose her knowledge of both
languages. Trying, I said. She makes it a must.
Everyone knew who she was trying to implicate. And her leader’s
reply did not disappoint: Yes, he was aware that a Malagasy newspaper
had a recording incriminating a local politician. Yes, he was in touch with
the Malagasy anti-corruption authorities and government intended to
give its full cooperation in the matter. Who would doubt that?
The person being talked about must have calculated the likelihood of
helping himself through an intervention, concluded that it was zero, and
reneged on the idea. All eyes were glued on him. It was a sad moment
for human nature. It was a terrible moment for justice.
Don’t get me wrong. We are not against transparency or justice.
Anyone proven guilty of depleting our forests or tarnishing our reputation
as a country, deserves the full force of the law. But here is where
I have a problem: the national assembly (NA) is not a court of law. In
a court of law, the accused is mentioned by name, has the opportunity
to present his version of the story and the people defending him, those
pleading against him and those judging him are experts in the fi eld.
There is none of that at the NA.
The leader of the opposition donned his lawyer cloak, something
which he has decided suits him very well recently considering the number
of suspects he has surrounded himself with, cleared his voice and tried
to put up some sort of defence, amidst objections from the government
benches. The real lawyers did not miss the opportunity to keep quiet.
And we cannot blame Ms Anquetil for her question either. The atmosphere
of court permeated the national assembly from the beginning
of the session. The prime minister had to answer questions about where
he was at the time of the burglary at the Roches Noires bungalow, by
what means he was informed of the theft, the make of the watch which
was stolen and even whether he had a rent book for the bungalow he
was letting out! Now, all these questions are legitimate in a democracy.
No one is disputing that. But parliament is neither a court of law nor the
Mauritius Revenue Authority. Our parliamentarians must have, nonetheless,
gone home satisfi ed of having quenched their thirst for revenge.
Are we any nearer to the truth? Of course not. Not that the intention
was ever to get to the truth. Our representatives keep information which
is vital to the course of justice to use to their advantage. In the case of
Med Point, for example, Maya Hanoomanjee admitted in last week’s
l’express dimanche that she had documents which show “how we went
from Rs 75 to Rs 144” which she presented to the ICAC but that if “in
spite of that I am still convicted, I will produce other documents.”
The main aim is to create embarrassment. And as far as that is
concerned, our representatives have our hearty congratulations. They
have succeeded in embarrassing all of us.

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