Mozambique Ex-President Guebuza to Appear in Court Over Debt Scandal

The former President of Mozambique, Armando Guebuza will appear in court on Thursday to testify over the ‘hidden debt’ scandal. This will make him the first ex-Head of State to do so since independence.

The scandal emanated from loans to three state-owned companies, issued between 2013 and 2014, that were meant to finance a fishing project. However, the debt was hidden from Mozambique’s parliament and the funds largely went to paying kickbacks.

The three firms involved took out €1.76 billion in loans, including from Credit Suisse and Russian lender VTB, to finance maritime surveillance, fishing and shipyard projects.

When details of the loans emerged in 2016, international financiers including the World Bank and IMF suspended aid to the country, triggering an economic crisis.

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Now, President Guebuza has been summoned to appear in court to testify about the scam since it happened during his term in officer. Additionally, his son Ndambi Guebuza is said to have directly been involved and benefitted from kickbacks.

The former President’s appearance was authorised by the country’s Council of State after a Supreme Court request as required by law when it comes to summoning a former President.

President Guebuza ruled Mozambique between 2005 and 2015.

His son is among 19 people accused of blackmail, forgery, embezzlement and money laundering of an estimated $200 million in total kickbacks. The bribes were paid to several players in the scandal that included Mozambique state officials and Credit Suisse bankers who are accused of falsely claiming that the funds would be invested in tuna fishing.

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Justice Efigénio Baptista has declined the Mozambique Bar Association´s request to summon President Filipe Nyusi, who was minister of Defence at the time, to testify.

US officials investigating the scandal have also accused President Nyusi of receiving kickbacks.

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