Mozambique’s Former Labour Minister Taipo Sentenced to 16 Years

Mozambique’s Former Labour Minister Taipo Sentenced to 16 Years (News Central TV)

A court in Mozambique on Thursday, sentenced former Labour Minister Maria Helena Taipo to 16 years in prison for her involvement in the embezzlement of 113 million meticals ($1.7 million) in public funds and illicit participation in business.

Taipo was sentenced along with three of her accomplices, who received similar sentences, according to the media report.

They include Anastacia Zitha, the former national director of migrant labour in the Labour Ministry, Jose Monjane, the former head of the finance department in the directorate, and Pedro Taimo, the former coordinator of the mineworkers’ project in the directorate, Mozambique’s Jornal Noticias reported.

Mozambique’s Former Labour Minister Taipo Sentenced to 16 Years (News Central TV)

Two of the 11 accused were acquitted, while five others were handed 12-year sentences for embezzlement.

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Judge Evandra Uamusse of the Maputo City Court ruled that “Taipo and her accomplices had embezzled 113 million meticals from the Directorate of Migrant Labour,” the report said.

Judge Uamusse said she had given the former minister a maximum sentence as “a deterrent measure” and because she had not shown any sign of repentance during the trial apart from claims such as “I did nothing” or “What I did was for the good of the institution.”

The court also ordered Taipo and her accomplices to repay the embezzled funds.

During the two-month trial, the court heard that the Labour Ministry and the directorate officials working with private companies had signed fraudulent contracts and formed a group with a plan to misappropriate public funds.

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The accused were also said to have ignored the procedures for withdrawing money from the directorate accounts, transferred money to personal accounts and had issued fraudulent invoices for events which never happened.

Taipo was particularly pinned over authorising bogus payments which the court found to have opened space for the embezzlement of funds.

Taipo was labour minister during former President Armando Guebuza’s 10 years in office. She also served as governor of the central province of Sofala and then as Mozambique’s ambassador to Angola under current President Filipe Nyusi.

She was fired from her ambassadorial job after investigations over corruption were opened against her.

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The defense has 20 days to appeal against the court’s verdict and sentencing.

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