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The Maputo City Court on Thursday decided to keep former Labour Minister Helena Taipo in preventive detention.
Taipo is accused of receiving illicitly, in 2014, about 100 million meticais (1.6 million US dollars, at current exchange rates) from the National Social Security Institute (INSS), an institution that is under Labour Ministry supervision.
This money was allegedly transferred to her accounts as “gratitude” for the assistance she had given to five private companies in winning contracts with the INSS. In other words, they were bribes paid by the companies.
Taipo was questioned by a judge for about three hours on Thursday, and he eventually decided to validate her detention. She was detained on Tuesday, and under Mozambican law, detained persons, unless caught in the act of committing a crime, must be submitted to a magistrate within 48 hours, for confirmation of the detention or for provisional release.
Also detained on Tuesday was businessman Lucio Sumbana, manager of the company Final Investments, one of the companies that supposedly paid bribes to Taipo. The court decided to release him on bail of 850,000 meticais.
Taipo was once a rising star in the ruling Frelimo Party. Thanks to her dynamic role in managing the Frelimo campaign in her native province of Nampula, in the 2004 general elections, President Armando Guebuza appointed her Labour Minister in his first government, and re-appointed her in 2010.
Under the current government, headed by Filipe Nyusi, Taipo was first governor of Sofala province, and then ambassador to Angola. But she was only an ambassador for a few months before the corruption scandal broke. Nyusi sacked her in late March.Source: AIM
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