Mozambique 'hidden debts': Boustani defence team urges US prosecutors to stop adding documents
Lingamo. Photo: Social Media
The Mozambican National Prisons Service (SERNAP) says that the need to ensure security and to separate detainees according to the type of crime they are accused of was behind the transfer of eight of the “hidden debts” detainees from Maputo Provincial Penitentiary to Criminal Investigation Service (SERNIC) cells in Lingamo prison, southern Maputo province.
The eight defendants were transferred in the early hours of Monday morning.
A SERNAP source explained that the measure was “completely legal” given its mandate to “direct, manage and coordinate prison services, ensuring order, security and discipline in penitentiary establishments, as well as ensuring compliance with sentences of citizens convicted under a regime of freedom”.
The source also cites the institution’s obligation to “proceed to the choice, assignment and transfer of the prisoner to a particular penitentiary establishment and its assignment under an enforcement regime”.
The SERNAP source explained to mediaFAX that the eight ‘hidden debt’s defendants had been sharing cells with inmates accused of crimes of different types. “And, moreover, possibly more serious. They were being insulted by other inmates in whose opinion the country was not developing because of the hidden debts,” he said.
“It was therefore necessary to transfer them, taking into account security issues. Security for them and the entire penitentiary establishment,” the source explained. “They even ran the risk of being beaten here.”
“When some people speak of illegality they do not understand that, in the specific case, our mission is not to ask to transfer, but rather to communicate as we have done, taking into account that it is our responsibility to manage our daily lives according to the objective situation we have here,” the source said.
For the mediaFAX source, the cells to which the group was transferred offer greater security because the group is no longer in contact with other inmates. In addition, the cells have been rehabilitated and offer greater security.
According to the source, the cells are designed to be used as a preventive penitentiary establishment in the south of Maputo province and are only temporarily under SERNIC control; as soon as everything is ready, the cells will be put under SERNAP management.
“Incidentally, there are those who say that the transfer is illegal because the defendants are still in the condition of preventive detention, but people forget that, therefore, they should be in a preventive establishment. Being in the Provincial Penitentiary Establishment in Maputo, it is clear that they must be subject to the rules of the game in use here in this jail … so it was important to get them out of here.”
Those transferred are Ndambi Guebuza, son of former president of Mozambique, Armando Guebuza, Teófilo Nhangumele, Bruno Tandane, Sérgio Namburete, Sidónio Sitoe, Fabiao Mabunda, António Carlos do Rosário, former director of economic counterintelligence, and Gregorio Leão , former director general of the State Information and Security Service (SISE).
In total, 20 ‘arguidos’ are suspected of illegally benefiting from money coming from the so called ‘hidden debts’. They are expected to stand trial over a total of 93 [alleged] criminal offences.
By Jordao Muvale