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TVM (File photo) / Agostinho Vuma
The Confederation of Mozambican Business Associations (CTA) is considering dissolving the Zambezia Business Council and holding fresh elections following a case involving the theft of two million meticais (about 33,000 US dollars, at current exchange rates) from the provincial government’s coffers.
The issue was highlighted by CTA chairperson Agostinho Vuma on the sidelines of a three-day national seminar of Provincial Business Councils which began today in Maputo.
On 12 July, the Zambezia Provincial Court ordered the detention of three staff from the provincial government on charges of diverting two million meticais earmarked for the cultivation of fields in the district of Nicoadala.
The most senior official arrested was the former provincial director of agriculture and food security, Marcelo Chaquisse. Also charged under the same investigation is the head of the Zambezia Business Council, Alfredo Ramos. Both men are being held in custody.
The other two individuals who have been arrested are provincial officials Helder Vicente and Remigio Namariba.
Vuma stated that if Ramos was involved in a crime, then “we will have to dissolve the Provincial Business Council and hold new elections. We are now waiting for the judicial institutions to clarify what happened. Then we will take internal measures”.
Vuma added that during this week’s seminar, participants will discuss a code of conduct for the Provincial Business Councils.
The arrests took place after an audit by the provincial directorate of agriculture found that Alfredo Ramos had received two million meticais through a process which involved several irregularities. In particular, no public tender had been organised.
Last week, the provincial prosecutor, Miguel Candido, explained that the missing funds were allocated to the cultivation of fields in Nicoadala. Although the funds have been disbursed the tillage has not been undertaken and this is one of the reasons why the authorities are very keen on recovering the funds.Source: AIM
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