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The Mozambican Attorney General’s Office (PGR) has lost the confidence of many Mozambicans because of its failure to deal with crimes involving figures from the political elite. Its credibility has hit rock bottom.
The Manuel Chang case was the last straw. The body, led by Beatriz Buchili, has reacted tardily, at least in public, to the arrest of the ex-finance minister under an international warrant issued by the a US court, which has given a new twist to the case of hidden debts.
Lawyer Vicente Manjate was hoping for a more decisive attitude from Beatriz Buchili. “I expected that tomorrow or Monday she would resign her position. I would not wait until June.”
But Manjate and many other Mozambicans were frustrated, for Buchili did not give any sign of resigning. And it must be remembered that in Mozambique there is no culture of resignation over mistakes, or incompetence, incapacity, crime or something similar.
Beatriz Buchili: Disastrous mandate?
But the Manuel Chang case may be the starting point for the turnaround, says Manjate: “I think we should build this culture starting from this case [Manuel Chang]. I hope that from now on PGR realizes that society is more attentive to this process.”
The list of cases with no solution, or only glacial progress, betrays the expectations of Mozambicans concerning the justice system. Examples include the kidnappings of businessmen, the Odebrecht and Embrarer cases, in which despite the data provided by the courts of other countries did not trigger any action, and the absence of criminal action against managers who drove banks into bankruptcy.
Invited to evaluate the PGR during the term of Beatriz Buchili, lawyer Rodrigo Rocha says: “First, she has never completed actions aimed at effectively controlling people with political power. There were actually ministers who were brought to justice and even condemned. And there were cases of corruption that were very strong that somehow had an outcome more or less expected by civil society”.
Rocha recalls that “there were also processes that did not have such a satisfactory outcome.”
Future prosecutor should be free of political ties
Beatriz Buchili was appointed by the former president of Mozambique, Armando Guebuza. Her term expires in mid-2019 and the hope is that President Filipe Nyusi will name someone without political ties but who is equal to the position. July will provide the opportunity to revitalize the PGR.
And the fact that it is in general election year, many people believe that Nyusi will be forced to meet such expectations or risk being penalised at the polls.
“There must be someone who does not have any particular political affiliation and who has not had a bad evaluation from the PGR itself, but would also not look bad if indicated for the position. People who have already been prosecutors or judges and are sufficiently senior,” Rocha says.
“What is needed is some fundamental credibility for this body of Mozambican justice, headed by a person with experience and credibility within the Mozambican legal framework,” he concluded.
Filipe Nyusi called to responsibility
Some hold that Mozambique’s constitution confers too much power on the President of the Republic, with the result that in some cases the independence and impartiality of some organs is far from guaranteed.
While still only speculating, Vicente Manjate notes that: “Whoever has the competence to appoint the prosecutor also realizes that if it is not from an internal process someone will come to do it for us. And it does not seem like it is the will of the President of the Republic.”
And Manjate holds the President of the Republic responsible at least with regards to the future of the PGR: “It is necessary to look at this moment as a turning point of the credibility of the justice system and perception that citizens have about the role of the Head of State in the credibility of justice.”Source: DW