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A Maputo court on Tuesday found Mozambique’s former Deputy Minister of Youth and Sport, Carlos Castro de Sousa, guilty of disobedience and “introducing himself into a house he does not own” (i.e. squatting).
The charges arose from his failure to leave the government house he lived in while he was a deputy minister. Sousa received the central Maputo house on 29 March 2007, and signed an undertaking that he would return it to the Secretariat of the Council of Ministers within 30 days of leaving office.
Sousa left office on 13 January 2015, but he did not leave the house. According to the prosecution case, instead of leaving the house he wrote a letter to President Filipe Nyusi, asking to buy the house, which he intended to transfer to his children.
The Secretariat of the Council of Ministers handed the case over to the Attorney-General’s Office (PGR) in late 2016, and the PGR concluded that Sousa had not complied with a duty imposed on public servants when they leave office.
The prosecution argued that Sousa knew it was his duty to return the house, and that it was not a building that could legally be sold off. Nonetheless “he is persisting in occupying a state residence, against the will of the state, causing it material and financial losses”.
Sousa sent a letter to the PGR suggesting that he stay in the house for another 10 to 12 months. According to a report of the case on the independent television channel STV, Sousa told the PGR that if it did not agree with the calendar he proposed, it could sue him. And it did.
On Tuesday the Kampfumo Municipal District Court sentenced Sousa to three months imprisonment, converted to a fine at a daily rate of five per cent of the minimum wage. The current minimum wage in the public administration is 3,996 meticais (about 66 US dollars) a month. So the total fine Sousa must pay is 18,000 meticais. He must also return the house within 90 days.
His lawyer, Jaime Sunda, announced that his client is appealing against the verdict and sentence.Source: AIM
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