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aeroportos.co.mz (File photo) / Beira airport ( for illustration purposes only)
The man who spent six years behind bars for embezzling 54 million meticais (about 857,000 US dollars at current exchange rates, but worth much more in 2010) from Mozambique’s publicly owned Airports Company (ADM) has been given a sinecure as an “advisor” to the company.
Diodino Cambaza was chairperson of the ADM board of directors when he was arrested in 2008. He was charged with embezzlement, false declarations, making undue payments, and abuse of his office, and in February 2010 the Maputo City Court sentenced him to 22 years imprisonment.
The judge, Dimas Marroa, in declaring the verdict said there was no doubt that Cambaza was “the moral and material author” of the crimes, since “he gave the orders and benefitted from the funds and goods illicitly acquired. He concentrated in his hands the management of two important accounts and always prevented any inspection of the ADM financial sector”.
Cambaza appealed, and the Supreme Court reduced his sentence to 12 years, and the payment of damages of about 37 million meticais. Due to good behavior in prison, he served only half his sentence, and was released on parole in 2016.
According to a report carried by the independent television station STV, Cambaza immediately asked ADM to give him a job. Six months after the request, ADM asked for guidance from the Transport Ministry, and on 19 April this year the Ministry gave the green light for Cambaza to be readmitted. Thus the Ministry did not object to giving a senior position to the man who had served jail time for robbing the company of 54 million meticais, or to inventing the position of “advisor” for him.
On the legal side, ADM sought advice from the Attorney-General’s Office (PGR) which said there was no legal impediment to employing Cambaza. It cited an article in the penal code which says that a prison term does not imply the loss of “any civil, professional or political rights”.
This is certainly true, and nobody doubts that ADM has the right to employ Cambaza – but it certainly has no obligation to do so, or to create a position especially for him.
Interviewed by STV, prominent lawyer Gilberto Correia, a former chairperson of the Mozambican Bar Association (OAM), pointed out that ADM blundered by never initiating disciplinary proceedings against Cambaza.
When he was charged with such serious crimes, he should have faced a disciplinary hearing which would most likely have expelled him from the company. Then the question of re-employing him would not have arisen.
Four other people were jailed alongside Cambaza. They included a former Transport Minister, Antonio Munguambe, sentenced to 20 years imprisonment, reduced to four years on appeal.Source: AIM