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mesquitagroup.co.mz (File photo)
The Mozambican Minister of Transport, Carlos Mesquita, has appeared before the Central Public Ethics Commission (CCEP), set up under the Law on Public Probity, to answer concerns about an alleged conflict of interest involving a company he partly owns.
The case involved a contract granted by the country’s relief agency, the National Disaster Management Institute (INGC), without a public tender, to the company “Transportes Carlos Mesquita Ltd” (TCM). The Minister is one of the owners of the Mesquita Group, which is the main shareholder in TCM. The TCM contract is worth 20 million meticais (about 296,000 US dollars, at current exchange rates).
The award of this contract was denounced by, among others, the Mozambique Bar Association (OAM). At the ceremony on 1 March, marking the opening of the 2017 judicial year, the OAM chairperson, Flavio Menete, said that this case was “a gross violation” of the Law on Public Probity. “These situations must be halted”, he declared.
The chairperson of the CCEP, Alfredo Gamito, a former Minister of State Administration, cited in Friday’s issue of the independent weekly “Savana”, said that, after speaking with Mesquita, the Commission drew up an opinion, which it subsequently sent both to the Minister, and to the Ethics Commission in the Ministry of Transport and Communications.
Gamito said that Mesquita has responded to the CCEP opinion, and the CCEP is now waiting for a response from the Ministry’s Commission. He hoped that the CCEP would be able to take a definitive position on the matter by next Tuesday.
Gamito declined to reveal what Mesquita had said, since the case is not yet closed. But “Savana” says it knows that Mesquita claims he had done nothing wrong, and can see no irregularity in the award of the contract.Source: AIM