Defence and Security Forces strengthen patrols on National Highway Number 1
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In a court deposition on Tuesday, Jean Boustani, who is accused by US prosecutors, said that former president Armando Guebuza had asked the shipbuilding company to support security in Mozambique, attract international investors, increase investment in the country and support Frelimo, Lusa News Agency reports today. [You may access the full court transcript HERE]
Shipbuilding company Privinvest, headquartered in Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates, was the supplier for a project to protect Mozambique’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
The request was made during a meeting in 2013 at the Presidential Palace in Maputo and in subsequent meetings, Boustani said.
US prosecution documents, filed in court a month ago, record a US$10 million payment from a subsidiary of Privinvest to Frelimo in four tranches in 2014.
Four transfer invoices dated March 31, May 29, June 19 and July 3, 2014 totalling US$10 million were sent by Logistics International Abu Dhabi to a Frelimo Central Committee account at the International Bank of Mozambique.
In court, Privinvest’s negotiator said Tuesday that in January 2013 he had two private meetings with Armando Guebuza to talk about the “commitment to the ZEE project” and the “lack of Mozambican response”.
Boustani indicated that he had travelled to Maputo to meet Guebuza and discuss the EEZ protection project, because “there were no signs, hope, news” from Mozambique.
At the first meeting, Guebuza stressed “the vision he had for the project and the satisfaction of carrying it out, for the strategic reason of the security of Mozambique,” Boustani said in reply to questions from his defence lawyer.
“The next day, I went to the Presidential Palace with his [the president’s] son Armando Junior,” Jean Boustani said, adding that the second meeting with the head of state was “shorter and more direct.”
Jean Boustani said that, at the second meeting, “Armando Guebuza asked for four things” from Privinvest, namely stability and security in the country, and more foreign investors in Mozambique, as a result of the success of the project.
“They bring more investors to all economic sectors, not just natural resources, but also tourism, industry and production made in Mozambique,” Boustani said, citing the former president.
“President Guebuza asked me for three, four things in that meeting and subsequent meetings. He said, first of all, security is key. If there’s no security, there’s not a single tourist who will come to Mozambique. Because if it’s chaos, people will be scared, nobody would come. If there’s no security, there’s not one investor who will put a penny in Mozambique. If there’s no security, the country is traumatic. So security is key, it’s paramount. So please support and invest in the security. So we stand by the armed force and the Secret Service.”
“Second thing he asked for, “Boustani said, was: “You’re talking about Abu Dhabi, about other things. Yes, bring foreign investments, bring investors, bring as much as you can. Bring investors to the country so they can invest in all the sectors that we have. And not only natural resources but also tourism and industry to create things made in Mozambique. Number three, he said, I want you to invest in Mozambique as well as you’re saying. So I want to see that you’re investing in the country as well and not like you’re acting like any — all contractors that come to Africa, they just sell and leave. So I want you to do things in the country as you’re told me. I want you to — I want to hold you responsible for the things that you’re talking about and presenting.”
Boustani explained that Guebuza later made another request:
“And last, he asked me for one last thing later on. He told me, I want [you] to also to support the party. That’s it.”
The former president said that “the EEZ was the most important project outside the oil and gas sectors” and that, being a “very sensitive” project, they had to have the “right partners”.
The case concerns loans contracted by Mozambican companies MAM, Ematum and Proindicus, with guarantees signed by the Ministry of Finance, but without the Mozambican parliament’s knowledge or authorisation.
The companies failed to pay creditors, revealing the US$2.2 billion ‘hidden debts’ in Mozambique’s public accounts.Source: Lusa
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