Mozambique officials arrest former president’s son

He is suspected of graft in a $2 billion government debt scandal
ex-president Mozambique

The son of Mozambique‘s former president Armando Guebuza was arrested on Saturday in a legal crackdown on suspects linked to a $2 billion government debt scandal, local media and judiciary sources said.

Ndambi Guebuza, the oldest of Guebuza’s four children, was picked up from his home in the capital Maputo.

Maputo-based independent STV channel said he was arrested in connection with a government debt which plunged the country into its worst financial crisis.

“He is one of the eight arrested by order of the Attorney General,” a judiciary source who asked not to be named, told AFP.

Mozambican authorities this week arrested seven other suspects, including businessmen and intelligence officials in connection with the debt scandal.

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The scandal came to light in 2016, a year after the ex-leader Guebuza left office following a 10-year tenure.

It is alleged that while he was still in power, the government in Maputo had taken out loans amounting to $2 billion to buy a tuna-fishing fleet and surveillance ships, but hid the transaction from parliament and international donors.

An independent audit found that a quarter of the loan amount was diverted, and unaccounted for.

When the debt was revealed, Mozambique — which is one of the world’s poorest countries and relies on donor aid — was plunged into the worst financial crisis in its history as donors froze contributions.

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The United States alleges at least $200 million was spent on bribes and kickbacks, including $12 million for former finance minister Manuel Chang, who allegedly signed off the debt.

Chang, 63, was arrested at Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport on December 29 on a US extradition request over his alleged involvement in the fraudulent loans to state firms. He was denied bail on Thursday.

Ndambi Guebuza, who is a businessman, is alleged to have received $9.7 million in bribes, according to a US indictment.


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