Mozambique: Abducted businessman released, suspected kidnappers arrested
PGR headquarters in Maputo. [File photo: O País]
The Mozambican Attorney-General’s Office (PGR) has issued international arrest warrants for a businessman of Italian origin, Emiliano Finnochi, and Mozambican lawyer Henrique Macuacua, who have both fled the country.
Finnochi, a founder and chief executive office of the investment management company, Indico Dourado, was detained in early June. He was suspected of receiving bribes from the Brazilian building company Odebrecht in connection with the construction of Nacala International Airport in the north of the country.
He was accused in the Odebrecht case along with former Finance Minister Manuel Chang (currently under police custody in South Africa, as he fights extradition to the United States in connection with the scandal of Mozambique’s “hidden debts”), and former Transport Minister Paulo Zucula.
Finnochi was released after paying bail of 20 million meticais (about US$3.1 million), but he seems prepared to lose this money, since he has skipped bail, and returned to his native Italy.
Macuacua is the lawyer for former Labour Minister Helena Taipo, and the arrest warrants issued at the weekend concern, not the Odbrecht case, but allegations of defrauding the National Social Security Institute (INSS), in the closing years of Taipo’s tenure at the Labour Ministry.
Already arrested in connection with this scandal are Taipo herself, the chairperson of the INSS board, Francisco Mazoio, and the former general manager of the INSS, Baptista Machaieie.
According to the accusation from the Central Office for the Fight against Corruption (GCCC), cited in Monday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, the alleged embezzlers defrauded the INSS of 371 million meticais [about US$5.9 million at current exchange rates].
This money was awarded to Finnochi’s company, Indico Dourado, supposedly to develop a real estate project in Nacala-a-Velha district, in the northern province of Nampula.
Once the money was in Finnochi’s account, accuses the GCCC, he transferred some of it to Macuacua, who then made sure that their share of the fraud money reached Taipo, Mazoio and Machaieie.
This corrupt scheme was discovered while the INSS was investigating a separate case in which Taipo is accused of diverting around 100 million meticais [about US$1.6 million] from the INSS in 2014. Taipo is said to have received the money illicitly through bank transfers made by companies that signed contracts with the INSS.Source: AIM
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