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The Budget Monitoring Forum [Fórum de Monitoria do Orçamento], an umbrella organisation for nongovernmental organisations in Mozambique, is demanding the full publication of the Kroll report on Mozambique’s hidden debts, saying that a lack of information could undermine the defence of the national interest in this matter.
In a press release, the Forum says it understands that there is key information contained in the full version of the report that could form the basis for corrective action by stakeholders.
“The failure to publish the audit report now precludes any action by civil society, violates the legal duty of the Public Prosecutor to defend the public interest and prevents the exercise of the constitutional right of individual or collective action to defend state assets,” the press release reads.
Information such as the identity of those involved, the amount of money involved, the national and foreign institutions involved in the operation of the contraction and assessment of the so-called hidden debts and mechanisms used remain unknown to the Mozambican public, since they are not included in the summary report released by the Attorney General’s Office last Saturday, the statement goes on to note.
The Forum further condemns the lack of information on issues such as the equipment purchased by the companies that received the government’s guarantee for the secret loans, the present location of this equipment and the motives for concealing the debts.
If the Attorney General’s Office does not make public the complete Kroll audit report, the text continues, it will become an irrelevant organ, failing in its constitutional duty to defend legality and the public interest.
Among the subscribers to the communiqué are the Public Integrity Center (CIP), the Community Development Foundation (FDC), social activist Graça Machel (widow of the first Mozambican President, Samora Machel), the Institute of Economic Studies (IESE) and the Women’s Forum [Fórum Mulher].
On Saturday, the Mozambique Attorney General’s Office released the summary of the audit report that the international firm Kroll has made on the more than US$2 billion in loans that the Mozambican government endorsed between 2013 and 2014 in favour of a tuna fishing company and of two firms involved in maritime safety.
According to the Attorney General’s, the audit into the hidden debts failed to clarify the fate of the US$2 billion borrowed by the three state-owned companies.
“Gaps remain in the understanding of how exactly US$2 billion was spent, despite considerable efforts” to clarify the matter, the Attorney General’s said in a statement.
“The audit found that the process for the issuing of guarantees by the state appears to be inadequate, especially in relation to the evaluation studies that must be conducted before issuing them,” it added.
The hidden debt scandal broke in April 2016. Ematum’s US$850 million debt was known, but not Proindicus’s US$622 million and MAM’s US$535 million. The revelations threw Mozambique into a crisis unprecedented in the last decades, with international partners suspending aid, the currency declining steeply in value and inflation rising to 25 percent.
The resumption of international aid has been conditioned on the completion of an independent debt audit, the executive summary of which was released by the Attorney General on Saturday. Mozambique now awaits the reactions of international partners.Source: Lusa