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The Chairperson of the Mozambican Association of Judges (AMJ), Carlos Mondlane, has denied that there are any corruption cases held up in the country’s courts beyond a reasonable time.
Interviewed in Friday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, Mondlane claimed that Mozambican judges take the fight against corruption as one of the pillars of their activity to guarantee speedy justice to the benefit of citizens.
The fight against corruption is one the priorities of Mozambican society, he added, and so judges could not dissociated themselves from it.
“The purpose of the AMJ”, Mondlane said, “is to contribute to the development and improvement of the conditions for the independent, impartial and dignified exercise of the functions of judges and to safeguard their legitimate interests and rights”.
The AMJ, he added, wanted its members to ensure that cases were handled speedily “for a good and adequate administration of justice. The AMJ favours the consolidation of the rule of law through the promotion of good practices among its members”.
He insisted that here are no unjustified delays on the part of judges dealing with corruption – despite last week’s very public denunciation of such delays by the Attorney-General’s Office (PGR).
No cover up was going on, Mondlane said, and all the cases that have been charged, and where it was possible to proceed to trial, have been tried. “Judges frequently try cases of corruption”, he claimed.
But a source in the PGR, cited in “Noticias” last week, said there were many corruption cases that had been charged but were simply “stagnating” in the courts. One flagrant example was that of the former Mozambican ambassador to Russia, Bernardo Xerinda. In March 2016, the Central Office for the Fight against Corruption (GCCC) charged him with embezzlement, abuse of office and payment of undue remunerations. More than 18 months later, no date has been fixed for a trial.
Also in March 2016, the GCCC charged the former general director of the National Institute of Land Transport (INATTER), Ana Dimande, with abusing her office and making illicit payments, which supposedly cost the state 11 million meticais (about 180,000 US dollars).
In July 2016, the GCCC charged three officials of the government’s Investment Promotion Centre of a fraud which cost the state coffers 32 million meticais.
In August of the same year the GCCC charged four officials of the Ministry of Economy and Finance with stealing 22 million meticais of state funds.
That same month the anti-corruption office charged the former mayor of the southern town of Manhica, Alberto Chicuamba, and his former councilor for finance, Andrade Machava, of embezzlement and other economic crimes, in which over 1.1 million meticais were stolen.
None of these cases have been dismissed, and prosecutors clearly believe the delays are not justified.
One case, however, is certainly going ahead. The Public Prosecutor’s Office has confirmed that the trial will begin on 17 October of the former executive director of the state-owned insurance company (EMOSE), Paulo Djedje, charged by the GCCC with abuse of power and unduly paying himself 60,000 US dollars.
This case will be heard by the KaMpfumo municipal district court in Maputo, just four months after the GCCC formally charged Djedje.Source: AIM