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Interception of Communications Bill - Index of articles
withdraws snooping bill
Manyukwe, The Zimbabwe Independent
November 03, 2006
has withdrawn the Interception
of Communications Bill which was meant to spy on people’s messages
after the Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC) raised strong objections
to its clauses, the Zimbabwe Independent established this week.
In an interview
on Wednesday the chairman of the PLC, Welshman Ncube, confirmed
that government had undertaken to come up with a new version of
the Bill that would take into account the committee’s concerns.
on the proposed legislation came after Ncube’s committee met the
Attorney-General Sobusa Gula-Ndebele and Transport and Communications
minister Christopher Mushohwe last month where the legislative body
queried the constitutionality of some of its clauses.
is sponsoring the Bill, and Gula-Ndebele, who sits in parliament
as an ex-officio member and is the government’s principal advisor
on legal matters, promised to come back to the PLC with a response
to their objections.
our objections. They said they are going to come up with a new version,"
Ncube said on Wednesday.
The Bill’s memorandum
says its purpose is to "establish an interception of communication
centre for the appointment of persons to that centre whose function
shall be to monitor and intercept certain communications in the
course of their transmission through a telecommunications, postal
or any other related service system".
The Bill also
says that the Transport minister may issue warrants for the interception
of communications on application by the Chief of Defence Intelligence,
the Director-General of the President’s Department of National Security
(the CIO), the Commissioner of the Zimbabwe Republic Police and
the Commissioner-General of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority or by
any nominee of any of the above.
did not state the contentious clauses, sources said the PLC had
raised objections to clauses 4, 6, 8, and 18, among others.
They said on
clause 4, the committee objected to the establishing of a centre
known as the Monitoring of Interception of Communications Centre
(MICC) saying it was unconstitutional to have such a body.
added that on clause 6, the committee objected to the part that
says "in the case of urgency or the existence of exceptional circumstances,
an oral application may be made".
Clause 8 allows
courts to use information intercepted unlawfully in prosecutions
while clause 18 says aggrieved persons can appeal to the same minister
who issues a warrant for their communication to be intercepted.
of Communications Bill becomes the second proposed law to be withdrawn
this year following the withdrawal of the Suppression of Foreign
and International Terrorism Bill, after the government conceded
that some of its provisions were unconstitutional.
A new version
of the terrorism Bill, which critics say is aimed at cracking down
on dissenting voices, is expected to be gazzetted soon.
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