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Mozambique’s Central Public Ethics Commission, set up under the law on public probity, is to look into the takeover of Moza Banco by Kuhanha, the company that manages the Bank of Mozambique Pension Fund.
Moza, once the fourth largest bank in the Mozambican financial system, ran into a liquidity crisis in mid 2016, and was in danger of becoming unable to meet commitments to clients. The bank of Mozambique stepped in, sacked the Moza board and appointed a provisional board to run the bank.
Since the Moza shareholders proved unwilling or unable to recapitalise the bank, an Evaluation Commission set up by the central bank sought bids from others who might wish to take over the bank. Any successful bidder would have to show that it could recapitalise Moza with an injection of at least 8.17 billion meticais (around 137 million US dollars).
On 31 May it was announced that the Evaluation Commission had selected the bid from Kuhanha, and the Bank of Mozambique accepted this. Kuhanha was given a month to realise the promised recapitalisation.
The new shareholding structure of Moza was 80 per cent for Kuhanha, and 20 per cent for the old shareholders (10 per cent for the Portuguese Novo Banco, and 10 per cent for Moçambique Capitais, a group of around 400 Mozambican investors).
The provisional chairperson of Moza, João Figueiredo, declared “a Mozambican solution has been found, that will bring added value to the shareholders. We didn’t bring in any support from outside. It’s entirely a Mozambican solution”.
But there were immediate cries from some of the media that the takeover was a conflict of interests – even though the Pensions Fund is not the same thing as the Bank of Mozambique, and Figueiredo insisted the takeover was entirely transparent.
Cited in the independent newssheet “Mediafax”, the spokesperson for the Central Ethics Commission (CCEP), Alfredo Gamito, said the Commission will analyse the entire deal, and that it has requested detailed information from the Bank of Mozambique so that it can assess whether the transfer of ownership to Kuhanha violated any ethical principles.
However, no reply has yet been received from the central bank, and Gamito refused to go into details. “Up until now, we don’t have an opinion on the matter”, he said. He promised to inform the media as soon as the CCEP has anything definitive to say.
As soon as the claims of a conflict of interest emerged, the central bank vigorously defended the Kuhanha takeover, arguing that this was done with complete transparency and was the best way of saving Moza from collapse.Source: AIM