Mozambique announces decision to join African Export-Import Bank
File photo: Jubilee Debt Campaign
Jubilee Debt Campaign UK hopes that the lawsuit brought by Mozambique against Credit Suisse in London’s High Court will be the first step in declaring the hidden debts illegal, its chief economist told Lusa.
“We hope this is an indication that the Mozambican government is going to declare that the US$2 billion [1.75 billion euros] debt is illegal, so that the people of the country do not have to pay a debt of which they had no knowledge or benefit,” Tim Jones said in a note sent to Lusa on Thursday.
Reacting to the announcement that the Mozambican Attorney General’s Office had filed a lawsuit in the London court against the financial group Credit Suisse, the three bankers who worked there at the time of the loans, and the naval builder Privinvest, he added that “activists in Mozambique are clear in arguing that the government also has to hold accountable all the leaders involved in contracting the secret debt without parliamentary approval”.
Credit Suisse, for its part, “has to be held accountable for its role in creating a US$2 billion debt scandal in Mozambique”, and “since the British authorities have not taken any action, it is correct that Mozambique has launched this action,” the NGO’s chief economist concludes.
According to financial information agency Bloomberg, the lawsuit is being filed in court in London and examines potential failures in commercial and logistics contracts, but the legal document does not provide further information.
Neither the Attorney General nor Credit Suisse have commented on the initiative, while a spokesman for Privinvest said it had not received any notification, Bloomberg adds.
The Mozambican state, through its Attorney General, is therefore bringing to court Credit Suisse International, Credit Suisse AG, bankers Surjan Singh, Andrew James Pearse and Detelina Subeva, and the construction company Privinvest.
The Judicial Court in Maputo ordered the pre-trial detention of eight of nine detainees within the scope of the hidden debts investigation.
They are António do Rosário, administrative director of the three public companies part of the scandal of the hidden debts (Ematum, Proindicus and MAM); Gregório Leão, former director of the State Information and Security Service (SISE); Bruno Tandade, operative of that intelligence service; Inês Moiane, personal secretary of Armando Guebuza – former President of the Republic when the state secretly endorsed the loans; Teófilo Nhangumele, alleged promoter of creating the companies and contracting the financing; and Ndambi Guebuza, the son of former Mozambican President Armando Guebuza.
Elias Moiane, nephew of the personal secretary of the former head of state, was granted bail of one million meticais (about 14,000 euros).
The nine arrests are the first made by Mozambican judicial authorities in three and a half years of investigation, and take place after former Mozambican finance minister Manuel Chang was detained in South Africa, where he currently awaits extradition, on an international arrest warrant issued at the behest of a US court.
The US prosecution has correspondence and documents that lead it to conclude that three Mozambican state-owned fishing and maritime security companies served a scheme of corruption and money laundering for the enrichment of several suspects using US bank accounts.
In 2016, the revelation that the state had given hidden guarantees to loans amounting to two billion dollars led to the suspension of several international support, contributing to the degradation of perspectives of the country.