Cyclone Gombe will hit Mozambique on Friday - AIM
Corruption cost the Mozambican state about 300 million meticais (4.7 million US dollars, at the current exchange rate), according to Attorney-General Beatriz Buchili.
Giving her annual report on the state of the justice system to the country’s parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, on Wednesday, Buchili said that the police force (PRM) topped the list of most corrupt state institutions.
1.913 cases of alleged corruption were processed last year – a 1.6 per cent increase on the 1,882 cases processed in 2020. There were 73 cases of corruption involving the police, 42 in the institutions of justice, 39 in the education services, 24 in the health service, 17 involving immigration officers, and 14 discovered in the Tax Authority (AT).
Buchili said she was concerned at the growing number of judges, prosecutors and other law officers involved in acts of corruption, “since these are officials who are granted powers by the law that supposedly guarantee integrity”.
In 2021, criminal proceedings were initiated against 25 judges and prosecutors, compared with 22 the previous years. All were accused of corruption and embezzlement.
Corruption in the immigration service could also be extremely serious. Buchili pointed to a scheme involving officials in the Foreign Ministry and in the Mozambican High Commission in Pretoria, and the consulates in Johannesburg, Durban and Nelspruit, who were paid to issue entry visas without the necessary documentation.
“This behaviour may contribute to individuals linked to organized crime entering the country”, Buchili warned. Those taking advantage of corruption in immigration could include drugs and gun traffickers and terrorists.
The illegal entry of such people into Mozambique. Buchili said, “compromises peace, national sovereignty and socio-economic development”.
She also confirmed the accusation made frequently in the Mozambican media that members of the police force are involved in the wave of kidnappings that has plagued Mozambican cities. This was a truly transnational crime with the kidnap gangs inside Mozambique working closely with criminals outside the country.
Buchili said the kidnappings had driven some business people to leave Mozambique altogether. Even when they were released from captivity, more money was demanded from the victims as a “freedom tax”.
But some of those who should be on the front line combatting the kidnappers are in league with them. “The involvement of some members of the police, lawyers, magistrates and other figures in the judiciary creates fragilities in investigating these cases”, said Buchili, “and endangers the safety of those public servants who are committed to fighting against crime”.
State agents, she added, are also involved in organized crime inside the country’s prisons, allowing mobile phones and computers to be smuggled to inmates. Some of these prisoners, she accused, had been involved in kidnappings, and continued to command kidnap gangs from behind bars.