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File photo / Liam Fox
The United Kingdom is available to help Mozambique investigate the US$2 billion in hidden state-guaranteed debts incurred between 2013 and 2014 without parliamentary authorisation, United Kingdom Secretary for International Trade Liam Fox said at the end of his visit to Mozambique.
“If you ask for help, we will always be available,” he told a Lusa reporter at Maputo International Airport. “We believe in the highest levels of probity in these matters and, as I told the president, we are ready to help in any way we can.”
The audit on the so-called hidden debts conducted by the Kroll consultancy suggests that the Mozambique attorney general’s office request the intervention of the United Kingdom authorities under international agreements to investigate the operations of Crédit Suisse.
A British subsidiary of Crédit Suisse lent some of the money and, according to Kroll, has not proven that it complied with all the steps required by United Kingdom law, in particular on verifying the use to which the funds would be put.
According to Kroll, in addition to the absence of approval from parliament and other entities, the companies that took out the loans were known ‘front companies’ lacking any commercial viability.
Liam Fox said that the hidden debts issue had had no impact on trade relations with the United Kingdom, but stressed that the country wanted clarity.
“[Debt] has no impact, but we want to see transparency,” he said.
“It is good that the government wishes to be aware of all the data and find out exactly what that information is,” as this was “an essential part of rebuilding the confidence of the international community,” he added.
Fox said the Mozambican executive “has to show, and is showing, an appetite for discovering and sharing the truth. This is essential” for foreign investors “to build confidence,” he concluded.
The UK Secretary for International Trade visited Maputo yesterday and met President Filipe Nyusi and Trade Minister Max Tonela to review trade agreements between the two countries in the context of the United Kingdom’s impending departure from the European Union.
He said that there would be some technical work replacing references to the EU in the texts of current agreements, and potentially negotiations to reach “agreements better than the current ones”.Source: Lusa