Privinvest official seeks to quash all charges - AIM report
Photo: O País
Angela Leao, the wife of the former head of the State Information and Security Service (SISE), Gregorio Leao, was arrested in Maputo on Thursday on the orders of the Attorney General’s Office (PRG). This is in relation to the ongoing investigation into the case of the country’s “hidden debts” – the illicit government guaranteed loans of over two billion dollars obtained by the security-related companies Proindicus, Ematum (Mozambique Tuna Company) and MAM (Mozambique Asset Management).
Angela Leao is the twelfth person to be detained out of 21 named as suspects by the PRG. The arrest came the day after Fabiao Salvador Mabunda was seized for ignoring a summons from the PGR to attend a hearing on Monday. The PGR had wanted to stage a confrontation between Mabunda and Angela Leao but was forced to postpone the hearing because he failed to appear.
Mabunda is the registered owner of the construction company M. Mocambique which is alleged to have received illicit money from Privinvest, the Abu Dhabi-based company that received the entire two billion dollars of loans from the banks Credit Suisse and VTB of Russia. Privinvest was the sole contractor for Proindicus, Ematum and MAM, providing the companies with fishing vessels, speedboats and other assets.
However, the prosecutors suspect that Angela Leao is the beneficial owner of M. Mocambique and that she used the company as a conduit to buy property.
SISE is at the heart of the scandal since it dominates the shareholding structure Proindicus, Ematum, and MAM and it used the veil of “national security” to hide the personal gain of senior figures.
Gregorio Leao was arrested in February along with Antonio do Rosario the former head of economic intelligence at SISE, who became chairperson of the board of all three fraudulent companies, and Ines Moiane, the former private secretary to former President Armando Guebuza.
Guebuza’s son, Ndambi Guebuza, Bruno Tandane, Teofilo Nhangumele, Sergio Namburete, Sidonio Sitoe, and Ines Moiane’s nephew Elias Moiane were also detained. Elias Moiane is the only one granted bail.
The PRG is also seeking the extradition of former finance minister Manuel Chang from South Africa where he is fighting a similar request from the United States. He was detained in Johannesburg on 29 December whilst in transit awaiting a flight to Dubai. Chang was the man who signed the illicit government guarantees without which the loans would have been impossible, and an international arrest warrant was issued by the United States authorities who want him to stand trial in New York on charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering, wire fraud and securities fraud.Source: AIM