INSS case: Filomena Sumbana detained yesterday
File photo: O País
Mozambique’s Central Office for the Fight against Corruption (GCCC) has issued international arrest warrants for two suspects in the case of the theft of funds from the National Social Security Institute (INSS).
The GCCC confirmed to AIM that it has indeed issued the warrants, but declined to give the names of the two fugitives.
However, the independent newssheet “Carta de Mocambique” has named the two as transport businessman, Humberto Xavier, and Ismail Gulamo Patel. They are regarded as important figures in giving evidence against some of the other accused.
The key suspect is former Labour Minister and former Mozambican ambassador to Angola, Helena Taipo, who was detained on corruption charges in April. Towards the end of her ten year period (2005-2015) as Labour Minister she allegedly defrauded the 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.
Most of the other suspects are managers or directors of companies which allegedly paid the bribes. Among them are the wife and son of former tourism minister Fernando Sumbana, namely Filomena Sumbana and Lucio Sumbana of the company Final Investments.
A source in the Sumbana family has 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 election campaign for the ruling Frelimo Party 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 has not been convinced by this story.
Other suspects include prominent business people Arnaldo Simango of Arcos Consultants, and Jose Marcelino of Calmac Ltd.
Prosecutors have charged 11 people in all of crimes including corruption, embezzlement, money-laundering and violation of budgetary legality.
The case was remitted to the Maputo City Court on Wednesday. A judge must now decide whether the evidence is strong enough to warrant a trial.Source: AIM