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FILE: Docked Ematum boats. [File photo: DW]
The Mozambican government has announced that it will pay for the restructuring of Ematum debt, overturning the decision of the Constitutional Council, which considered it “null and illegal”. Civil society is unhappy with the decision.
The Government of Mozambique will pay for the restructuring of the Ematum debt which has been declared “null and void” by the country’s Constitutional Council, Maputo having announced on Wednesday (30.10) to sovereign debt lenders that it already has “all the necessary conditions and authorisations” to move forward and pay for the restructuring of the 2016 issuance of US$726.5 million with an interim instalment of US$38 million.
Civil society has reacted unfavourably to the news and accused the government of a lack of respect for the Constitutional Council. The Budget Monitoring Forum (FMO) even wants to sue the Executive for disobeying an order of the supreme body.
“We think the alert sounded at the time of the renegotiation. But this government announcement – that it wants to pay the $38 million – shows that it was already taking steps and had decided that it would pay,” the organisation’s coordinator, Fatima Mimbire, says.
Government “kicks everything” to pay “illegal” debt
The forum wants to know where “all the necessary conditions and authorisations” enabling the government it to move forward with the restructuring had come from.
Mimbire says that, by not revealing the institutions that gave the authorization, the executive is showing that the constitutional principle of separation of powers is not respected in Mozambique. The “executive power overrides the other powers, and even to the extent of disobeying a decision of a supreme body [like the Constitutional Council], whose decisions cannot be disputed,” she says.
According to Edson Cortez, the director of the Centre for Public Integrity (CIP), the government is over-riding investigations of the so-called “hidden debts”, preferring to restructure debt “without waiting for the end of the trial when it may get a sense of what it might have happened”.
Cortez states that the CIP maintains the position that this debt should not be renegotiated or paid by Mozambicans because it is illegal and there are lawsuits pending in the courts.
“It is not justifiable that, [with] court cases under way or pending in Mozambique and the US, and [with] the Constitutional Council [declaring the debt null and void], the government kicks it all out to renegotiate with creditors,” he says.
Cortez recalls that the organisation “brought in international experts who showed the government had the options of not paying these debts. But apparently the government has never bothered to read the CIP proposals.”
The Ematum debt is part of the US$2 billion of so-called “hidden debts” contracted without the knowledge of the Mozambican parliament under President Armando Guebuza.Source: Deutsche Welle
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