The British government yesterday confirmed that it sold 1 5000 landrovers to the Zimbabwe Republic Police in 1998 and underwrote a loan of just over 15 million pounds for the purchase.
The Department of International Development signed a grant agreement with Zimbabwe to meet 35 percent of the cost of the landrovers, spare parts and UK sourced technical support for management and maintenance.
Baroness Northover confirmed the loan in the House Lords yesterday after she had been asked by Lord Maginnis to confirm that the government had given Zimbabwe a loan to purchaser the vehicles which were used to fore internal repression.
Baroness Northover said the landrover supply project was suspended in May 2000 on the grounds of concerns at the way in which the vehicles were being used and as a result of a default by Zimbabwe on its loan repayment obligations.
At that time 1 049 Landrovers had been supplied.
The issue of the vehicles is being questioned in a new study by the Jubilee Debt Campaign which questions why Britain guaranteed the loan since this was not productive in any way except that it boosted British companies.
Britain’s Export Credits Guarantee Company is now owed more than 190 million pounds by Zimbabwe.
The Jubilee study says the landrovers cost 20.9 million pounds.