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Former Mozambican ambassador to Russia Bernardo Chirinda has been charged with embezzling more than US$167,000 (€150,000) between 2003 and 2012, according to a court source.
Bernardo Chirinda, who was in Maputo City Judicial Court on Thursday for the first session in the case, is accused of orchestrating a “proper looting,” according to judge Rui Davane, reading the files of the case.
According to the prosecution, in addition to excessive travel expenses, the former ambassador allegedly diverted workers’ 13th salary over the course of three years and forged payments to officials without ties to the embassy.
According to the case file, his actions were allegedly facilitated by Horácio Matola, his financial attaché at the time.
The ambassador puts part of the blame on his former superiors, former Foreign and Cooperation Ministers Leonardo Simão and Oldemiro Baloi, both of whom the court heard denying having authorised any improper payments.
The former ambassador and his financial attaché return to court on August 16 for another session and, if found guilty, they may be sentenced to penalties ranging from 8 to 12 years.
This is the second recent case of a former Mozambican ambassador alleged to have been involved in corruption. In March, Amelia Sumbana, former ambassador of Mozambique to the United States, was sentenced to 10 years for abuse of office, embezzlement and money laundering.Source: Lusa