L'Express (Port Louis)

Mauritius: Mighty bluff

A member of our Parliament made a statement last week about a Minister having been privy to a bank transaction witnessing a transfer of millions of Rupees from Gro Derek's funds to a place outside of Mauritius.

In view of what happened, I feel that it would be below the standard of this 'billet' to mention the name of that MP.

That was sensational news and all the media went berserk with it. Even the Prime Minister, who supposedly was taken aback by it, immediately made space for meeting that MP. What happened at that meeting is not important, but it must be said that the Prime Minister took an honourable stand in inviting that MP to give a declaration to the Police, for an enquiry to start.

That MP was pressed to do so when ICAC and the Governor of the Bank of Mauritius invited him to disclose, in confi dence, the evidence he had unambiguously declared to be in his possession. It then turned out that he had no evidence at all and that he was asking the Prime Minister to set up a Commission of Enquiry, to be presided by a sitting Judge. A commission of Enquiry ? For what?

To enquire into bluff? And use public funds to give credence to something that is dead and is awaiting burial.

What that MP proposes to do now is to use his Parliamentary immunity to say what he had no guts to say to the Police or ICAC.

This is cowardice of the first order. I believe that Parliament should never be used as a platform to smear people, whether they are in the House or not. If that MP does have evidence, as he claims, he ought to have no worries as truth is an absolute defence in any potential case of defamation.

That MP reminds me of those people who do not have to courage to put their real names when they blog on the Internet.

That problem arose recently with the BBC, when it broadcast a programme insinuating that a former close associate of Margaret Thatcher, the former Prime Minister, had been involved in paedophilia. That gentleman took action and the BBC had to pay damages as the allegation was not true.

Bloggers had picked up on that story of the BBC and the service providers were ordered to disclose the real identities of the bloggers.

The Internet and Parliament must not become vehicles to defame or to make allegations against people. The bloggers must come clean and they must have the guts to be real men and women. Hiding behind pseudonyms is the province of the spineless.

What that MP must do is to apologize to the institution where he made those remarks, which are unethical, unparliamentary and downright defamatory.

Or could it be that that MP has been used for political purposes? His buttering up of the Prime Minister could have something to do with this. Or, is he afraid that the Prime

Minister will ask the DPP to start an enquiry?

It is salutary that the Opposition did not fall in that MP's trap.

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