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Beira Port /File photo)
The company Cornelder-Mocambique has denied that the memoranda of understanding signed with the government in July 2016 concerned the leases on the ports of Beira and Quelimane, as had been reported in parts of the Mozambican media.
The memoranda were controversial because they were signed by Transport Minister Carlos Mesquita and his brother, Adelino Mesquita, who at the time was chairperson of Cornelder-Mozambique and Cornelder-Quelimane. Because this is defined as a conflict of interest under the Law on Public Probity, the Attorney-General’s Office has called for the memoranda to be annulled, and the Minister has agreed.
A Cornelder statement, issued on Thursday said that the two memoranda had nothing to do with the leases on the ports but concerned “the policy of reviving national coastal shipping”, and for this the companies agreed “to subsidise the operations through a reduction in the commercial tariff for coastal shipping cargo and through granting facilities for the mooring of coastal shipping vessels”.
The memoranda envisaged that in Beira there would be a 60 per cent discount on commercial tariffs of this type of cargo, and coastal shipping would be given priority in the allocation of berths. In Quelimane, the discount would be 50 per cent.
Cornelder’s lease on the port of Beira dates from October 1998, and that on the port of Quelimane from July 2004. The Cornelder statement points out that the leases are not mentioned in the PGR statement which only calls on the government to annul the memoranda on coastal shipping.
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The PGR suggested (and Mesquita has agreed) that memoranda of the same nature should be signed by some other member of the government. The PGR did not query the merits of facilitating coastal shipping.
Cornelder stressed that the Beira and Quelimane lease contracts “have not suffered any form of interference arising from the memoranda of understanding signed in June 2016”.Source: AIM
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