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GCCC Nampula provincial delegation.File photo / Deutsche Welle
The Central Office for the Fight against Corruption (GCCC) is investigating alleged theft of funds from the coffers of the northern municipality of Nampula before and after the murder of the city’s mayor, Mahamudo Amurane, last October.
Cited in Friday’s issue of the independent daily “O Pais”, GCCC spokesperson, Francisco Bauque, could give no details, merely saying that work is underway to check the truth of the allegations.
While Amurane was still alive several municipal staff were detained, accused of diverting funds. This was a case that the Municipal Council, under Amurane, had denounced to the Nampula provincial anti-corruption office.
After Amurane’s murder, Manuel Tocova, previously chairperson of the Municipal Assembly, became interim mayor. His period in office was brief and stormy, since he was in constant conflict with the city councillors appointed by Amurane. It was suspected that money disappeared during this turbulent period.
Tocova was arrested for the illegal possession of a firearm, for which he was eventually sentenced to ten months imprisonment, converted into a fine, and Americo Iemenle took over as interim mayor.
The desperate financial situation of the municipality became evident after the mayoral by-election, won by the candidate of the main opposition party Renamo, Paulo Vahanle.
Vahanle soon discovered that the coffers were empty, and announced in April that the municipality had an accumulated debt of 41 million meticais (about 683,000 US dollars).
But, cited in Friday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, Vahanle said he is discovering that the real debt is much higher. “We have been receiving individuals, representatives of financial institutions, and business people, all demanding the payment of debts”, he said.
Some of the debts date back to the period when Castro Numuaca was mayor – and his term of office ended in 2013. Others were incurred during Amurane’s term of office, and still others when Tocova and Iemenle held the post of interim mayor.
Vahanle admitted that the municipality does not yet know how large its debts are. He said a team of staff from the municipal accounts department is working to draw a full list of the debtors, and he feared the final result will be considerably higher than the 41 million meticais announced in April.