MAPUTO, Mozambican Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosario has told reporters that the recommendations from the independent audit into Mozambique’s previously hidden debts will serve as a basis for the country to strengthen transparency in the management of public assets.

The debts result from loans totalling more than 2.0 billion US dollars taken from European banks Credit Suisse and VTB of Russia by Ematum (Mozambique Tuna Company), Proindicus and MAM (Mozambique Asset Management), which were illicitly guaranteed by the previous government under former president Armando Guebuza.

The three companies were subsequently audited by the London branch of the accounting firm, Kroll Associates, and the Attorney-General’s Office (PGR) published the executive summary of the audit report on Saturday.

Speaking during celebrations of the 42nd anniversary of Mozambican independence on Sunday, Rosario said the government regarded the publication of the audit report as an important step towards restoring the confidence of investors and donors in Mozambique.

Certainly it brings recommendations that will serve as a basis for us to continue strengthening levels of transparency in public management,” the Prime Minister stressed. His expectation was that subsequent steps to be taken by the PGR, in compliance with the audit’s recommendations, would clarify everything that is still unexplained.

Rosario echoed the promise given by President Filipe Nyusi that the government will co-operate with the PGR so that it can fully respond to all the questions which have to be explained. More work will be done, and more steps will be taken, he pledged.

Former President Joaquim Chissano also believed that the audit report would be a valuable instrument for ensuring the better use of public assets, which should be used properly to guarantee the growth and development of Mozambique.

The report will advise us on better use of public goods, not only money, but also material assets, said Chissano. He was sure that, on the basis of the report, the State will introduce mechanisms to ensure that the best use can be made of the country’s resources.

Guebuza, who succeeded Chissano to the Presidency, declined to comment on the Kroll report, although the loans and their guarantees were issued during his period in office.

He told reporters that he had not yet read the report and so was unable to comment on what it contained. The journalists insisted, but Guebuza said I have not yet had access to the report, and so I can make no comment.

Meanwhile, the leader of the opposition Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), Daviz Simango, on Monday called on the PGR to bring criminal charges against those responsible for the two billion USD worth of loans which added 20 per cent to Mozambique’s foreign debt, ensuring that the debt became unsustainable.

Simango noted that Kroll complained at a lack of co-operation from the three companies during the audit, refusing to provide some of the information requested, which led to omissions in the audit.

The failure of the companies to cooperate, Simango accused, makes it ever more evident that the financial engineering behind the formation of these companies with unsustainable sums in unauthorized guarantees, was used to divert astronomical amounts, damaging the public interest and the Mozambican state, and making it impossible to service the public debt.