Hidden debts: Former Security Chief denies knowledge of investment company - AIM
Photo: O País
Miguel Alberty, co-owner of the building company Mozago, on Monday told the Maputo City Court, that Mozago had been paid over 35 million meticais (about 547,000 US dollars, at the current exchange rate), for work done on a property owned by Angela Leao in Matola-Rio, just outside Maputo.
Angela Leao is the wife of the former General Director of the Security and Intelligence Service (SISE), Gregorio Leao, and both are among 19 people facing charges linked to the scandal of Mozambique’s “hidden debts”.
The court has been looking in detail at the real estate dealings of Angela Leao, and how they were paid for. The ultimate source of the money, according to the prosecution, was a bribe of over nine million dollars intended for Gregorio Leao, but paid via the contractor Fabiao Mabunda and his company MMocambique Construcoes.
Angela Leao hired Mabunda for much of the work on her properties, and their bank accounts seemed intertwined.
Mozago was hired for finishing work on the Matola-Rio property, including tiles, painting, fittings, doors and windows. Alberty noted that Mozago was sometimes paid by MMozambique Construcoes, and sometimes directly by Angela Leao,
Judge Efigenio Baptista asked him if he did not find it strange that work done for one client, Angela Leao, was being paid for by somebody else. Alberty replied that he did not mind who paid for the job, as long as his company received the money.
Mozago worked under the architectural company Arquitec, which told Alberty that, although Leao was the owner of the property invoices should be issued to MMocambique Construcoes.
This relationship came to an abrupt end in June 2015, when Mozago was told that its services were no longer required at Matola-Rio. Alberty said no reason was given for this. He believed that the work had been going normally, there were no technical problems and there was no breach of contract.
Alberty said Mozago never received full payment for its work. The final instalment received was 1.3 million meticais – but Alberty believed the real amount owing was between five and seven million meticais.
So Mozago left the Matola-Rio site and sold the materials for the job to the Portuguese building company, Teixeira Duarte.
A second witness, scheduled to testify on Monday about the Leao properties, Marcia Pereira, could not attend because she is no longer living in Mozambique. Baptista said the court had only now become aware that for the past year she has been living in Portugal.
The judge said a further potential witness, Leonel Buque, has asked not to testify, because he is the brother of Angela Leao. Furthermore, the court has been unable to locate the partner of the former head of economic intelligence at SISE, Antonio Carlos do Rosario, named as Kais Suale, It will therefore be impossible to call her as a witness.
This reduction in the number of witnesses means that several more days have become available for the prosecution and defence to prepare their closing statements.
Baptista wants this stage in the trial to begin immediately after the final witness, former President Armando Guebuza, has testified (probably on 17 February).