Malawi apologises to Mozambique over MDF soldiers crack down on charcoal traders at border
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The defence lawyers for Jean Boustani, a sales executive for the Abu Dhabi based group Privinvest, on Friday presented evidence that the Bank of Mozambique had authorised the loans to the fraudulent, security-related companies Ematum (Mozambique Tuna Company) and Proindicus.
A third company, MAM (Mozambique Asset Management), was not specifically mentioned, but it s known that the central bank approved this loan too.
The loans, for over two billion US dollars, were granted by Credit Suisse and the Russian bank VTB, thanks largely to illicit loan guarantees granted by the Mozambican government of the time, led by President Armando Guebuza.
Boustani was deeply involved in arranging the loans, and is currently on trial in New York on charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering, wire fraud and securities fraud. The loan money went directly to Privinvest, which was the sole contractor for all three Mozambican companies. According to the prosecution, at least 200 million dollars was diverted to pay loans and kickbacks.
The defence lawyers are using the letters of authorisation from the Bank of Mozambique to suggest that the loans were all legal and above board. Credit Suisse had demanded such letters as a condition for granting the loans.
The letters are from 2013 and were signed by a member of the bank’s board of directors, Silvia de Abreu, after a dispatch from the then governor of the central bank, Ernesto Gove.
One of the letters replies to a request from the managing director of Proindicus, Eugenio Matlaba, asking for authorisation to apply for a loan of 372 million dollars from Credit Suisse. Abreu’s short letter told Matlaba that the Bank has granted the request. (The Credit Suisse loan to Proindicus ballooned, and eventually totalled 622 million dollars).
A similar letter sent to Henrique Gamito, the chief executive officer of Ematum, granted authorisation for Ematum to take out a loan of 850 million dollars.
None of this will be particularly new to people who have been following the scandal closely. In April the independent newssheet “Carta de Mocambique” reported that Ernesto Gove could be indicted as a suspect in one of several cases that the Public Prosecutor’s Office has opened, arising out of the loans and their illegal guarantees.
Tuesday’s issue of the newssheet says that Gove’s status as a suspect has been confirmed, and that he may be accused of abuse of office and membership of a criminal organisation.
When the true extent of Mozambique’s “hidden debts” became public knowledge in early 2016, Gove denied any responsibility, even going so far as to tell reporters he had never heard of Proindicus.
But the Bank of Mozambique letters granting Proindicus and Ematum authorisation to contract the loans are now in the public domain, and thus put Gove in a tight spot.Source: AIM
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