Armed attacks: 23 adults and one minor handed prison sentences in Cabo Delgado - report
Attorney General Beatriz Buchili. (File photo: Notícias)
The Attorney General of the Republic of Mozambique, Beatriz Buchili, said today that the US has not responded to requests for information in the so-called hidden debts case, although some of the transactions were made in the United States.
“Regarding the United States of America, despite the contacts established with the authorities of that country, we did not obtain answers to the questions formulated in the letters rogatory,” Beatriz Buchili declared, in the course of providing information on the activities of the Attorney General’s Office of the Republic of 2018.
The Mozambican and US authorities are investigating the case of hidden debts in parallel cases and have made separate requests for the extradition of former finance minister Manuel Chang, who is in South Africa.
Buchili emphasised the need for judicial cooperation with the US, on the grounds that some of the suspects allegedly received bribes as a result of transactions conducted in the United States.
Buchili also said that Mozambique had not received replies to letters rogatory sent to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where the companies supplying goods and services to the Mozambican companies which are assumed to have benefitted from the ‘hidden debts’ are located.
In total, the Mozambican judicial authorities have requested the legal assistance of eight countries, including Portugal.
The attorney general noted that nine people were being held in Mozambique in connection with the case, out of a total of 28 ‘arguidos’ [officially named suspects]. Among the ‘arguidos’ is former finance minister Manuel Chang, who is currently still a deputy of the Assembly of the Republic.
The shipbuilding group Privinvest was hired by Mozambique for maritime projects valued at more than US$2,000 million (EUR 1,769 million), which the country borrowed in 2013 and 2014 and which it concealed from parliament and donors such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
An international audit reported that there was no justification for more than US$500 million (EUR 440 million) of this amount, reporting over-billing in the supply of goods and the financial incapacity of the beneficiaries of the money.
A US court has opened an investigation into the scheme, pending the extradition of some of those involved. Among them are the former Mozambican minister, the Privinvest negotiator, Lebanese Jean Boustani, and three former Credit Suisse bankers
All are accused of involvement in a corruption scheme detrimental to the Mozambican state, which endorsed the loans to state-owned Mozambican companies Ematum, Proindicus and MAM, amounts allegedly diverted to the enrichment of the suspects.Source: Lusa