Shipbuilder seeks compensation from Mozambique over hidden-debt scandal
in file CoM
The former general director of Mozambique’s State Security and Intelligence Service (SISE), Gregorio Leão, received almost nine million US dollars in bribes from the Abu Dhabi based Privinvest group, as part of the country’s “hidden debts” scandal, according to the charge sheet against 20 suspects, drawn up by the Public Prosecutor’s Office.
Leão, who answered directly to the former president, Armando Guebuza, was one of the most powerful men in the country, and certainly the most important figure among those detained so far.
The scandal involved the granting of over two billion dollars in loans in 2013 and 2014 from the banks Credit Suisse and VTB of Russia to the three fraudulent companies Proindicus, Ematum (Mozambique Tuna Company) and MAM (Mozambique Asset Management). The loans were only possible because Guebuza’s government guaranteed them – so that, in the likely event of the companies being unable to pay, the Mozambican state would be liable.
Privinvest sat at the heart of the fraudulent projects, and was the sole contractor for the three companies, providing them with fishing boats, patrol vessels and other assets at vastly inflated prices. In theory, the three companies were intended to boost protection of the Mozambican coast and exclusive economic zone, and to create a tuna fishing fleet. But in fact the whole venture was a scheme in illicit private enrichment.
The fishing boats did arrive, but have done almost no fishing. They are at anchor in Maputo fishing port, and do not even have fishing licences. Nothing at all has been done to improve coastal security, and the companies exploring for natural gas off the coast of northern Mozambique have not shown the slightest interest in buying services from Proindicus.
But individuals connected with SISE, notably Leão, did very well out of the scheme. According to the prosecution indictment, cited in Thursday’s issue of the independent daily “O Pais”, in order to disguise Leão’s involvement, the nine million dollar bribe was transferred from Privinvest to the company M. Moçambique Construções, owned by another of the accused, Fabiao Mabunda, who worked closely with Leão’s wife, Angela Leão, who handled the family’s financial interests.
She hired a man named Sidonio Sitoe to help apply the Privinvest money. His role was to sell real estate to the Leão family, receive the money, and then return that same money in small amounts.
Thus Sitoe received 1.5 million dollars for selling three houses to Angela Leão. The money was transferred from M. Moçambique Construções to Sitoe’s accounts.
On orders from the Leão family, Mabunda transferred over 11 million meticais (about 178,000 dollars) to Arktek, a company owned by Angela Leão, that was designing four houses in the upmarket Maputo suburb of Costa do Sol, a house in the central city of Quelimane, a discotheque in Belo Horizonte, and other real estate projects.
Angela Leão also ordered Mabunda to transfer almost 13 million meticais to her sister, Mbanda Henning. Another sister, Olga Buque, received three millon meticais. She also used 36 million meticais to hire four companies to remodel the Leão family mansion in Matola Rio, just outside Maputo.
A variety of other projects, the ownership of which traces back to the Leão family, were awarded to Mabunda and M. Moçambique Construções. For his role in laundering the nine million dollars of bribe money, Mabunda was richly rewarded, receiving 17.5 million meticais.
Others in on the scheme received money directly from Privinvest, the prosecutors accuse. This was the case of Zulfikat Esmail Ahmad, who received 100,000 dollars, later broken down into sums of no more than 5,000 dollars to avoid attracting attention.
Ines Moiane, the private secretary of President Guebuza, took 877,500 euros (about 985,000 dollars) from Privinvest – a bribe for arranging six meetings between Privinvest executives and Guebuza. Since such a large sum would have attracted unwanted attention if it had gone straight into Moiane’s account. So Moiane hired Sergio Namburete to receive the Privinvest bribe: his reward for this was 127,500 euros, a huge 14.5 per cent of the entire sum.
Ines Moiane used part of the Privinvest money to buy two flats, which she registered in the name of her brother, Elias. She offered one of the flats to her two daughters.
Renato Matusse, a political adviser to Guebuza, is said to have acted as an intermediary between Privinvest and the President, for which he received two million dollars. He organised Guebuza’s visits to Privinvest shipyards in Abu Dhabi in March 2013 and in Cherbourg, France, in September that year. The Cherbourg shipyard is where the boats for Ematum and Proindicus were built.Source: AIM
EDM unable to restore power to Beira
Mozambique may become one of the world's largest gold producers