Case of Mozambique’s hidden debts due to be taken to court in 2020

22 January 2020

The main case of the so-called hidden debt scandal in Mozambique is expected to be judged later this year, as one of the steps towards discovering the truth, accountability of the perpetrators and recovering the value involved in the fraud, Mozambican newspaper Notícias reported.

The newspaper reported that officials are waiting for a decision from the Higher Court of Appeal, to which the 20 defendants have appealed the indictment issued by a judge from the 6th Section of the Court of the City of Maputo.

The Higher Court of Appeal is expected to pronounce on whether it upholds the decision or dismisses the complaint. If the decision is upheld the case will go to trial and if the appeal is accepted this will make way for the decision to be amended.

In the case, registered as 130/11/2019/PGR, the 20 co-defendants are accused of crimes of criminal conspiracy, blackmail, passive corruption, embezzlement and abuse of office or function, violation of management rules, falsification of documents, use of false documents, possession of prohibited weapons and money laundering, with the modifications resulting from the evidence collected.

The State-backed hidden debts were taken on by public enterprises ProIndicus (US$622 million) and Mozambique Asset Management (US$535 million) during the term of office of President Armando Guebuza.

This case also involved a later issue of Eurobonds in the initial sum of US$850 million by Mozambican tuna company Ematum, whose second restructuring was agreed between the creditors and the Government of Mozambique at the end of 2019. (macauhub)