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Mozambique’s Central Office for the Fight against Corruption (GCCC) on Tuesday detained the former ambassador to Angola, and former Labour Minister, Helena Taipo, after an interrogation at the GCCC Maputo headquarters.
The detention came 20 days after President Filipe Nyusi sacked her as ambassador, following investigations into her activities at the end of her ten year period (2005-2015) as Labour Minister, in which she allegedly defrauded the National Social Security Institute (INSS) of around 100 million meticais (about 1.6 million US dollars at current exchange rates).
This money was supposedly paid into Taipo’s bank accounts by various companies as “gratitude” for the minister’s role in signing contracts between them and the INSS – they were thus bribes.
The GCCC’s net has been closing in on Taipo for some time. Since she returned from Luanda, the GCCC has ordered the seizure of vehicles and buildings, allegedly acquired with the money drained from the INSS.
A second suspect, Lucio Sumbana, manager of the company Final Investments, was also detained on Tuesday. His company is supposedly one of those that paid bribes to Taipo.
Sumbana is the son of former tourism minister, Fernando Sumbana, who is currently a member of the Maputo Municipal Assembly for the ruling Frelimo Party, and who founded Final Investments in the 1990s.
A source in the Sumbana family, cited in Wednesday’s issue of the independent newssheet “Carta de Mocambique”, claimed that Final Investments never had any dealings with either the INSS or the Labour Ministry.
This source claims there was a dispute between Taipo and Lucio Sumbana, arising from financing for the Frelimo election campaign in 2014. Taipo, who was heading the Frelimo brigade in the northern province of Nampula, approached the Sumbana family and asked for their support.
She wanted 30 million meticais for the campaign. The Sumbanas obliged, but made it clear that this was not a gift and they wanted the money returned. The money was not repaid – but Taipo and Final Investments supposedly reached an understanding, under which she signed a “debt note”, admitting that she owed this sum.
The GCCC, which has questioned both Lucio Sumbana and his father, is not convinced by this story.Source: AIM
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