MAPUTO– The International Monetary Fund (IMF), in a statement issued by its Resident Representative in Mozambique, Ari Aisen, has dashed the hopes of anyone who believed that relations between Mozambique and the IMF will return to normal any time soon.

The terse statement gave a cool response to the latest statement from the Attorney-General’s Office (PGR), which called for those public managers involved in the scandal of the country’s hidden debts to be held financially responsible for their actions.

The hidden debts are the loans of more than two billion US dollars contracted from the European banks Credit Suisse and VTB of Russia in 2013 and 2014 by Ematum (Mozambique Tuna Company), and two security-related companies — Proindicus and MAM (Mozambique Asset Management) — with illicit guarantees issued by the government, which was headed at that time by former president Armando Guebuza.

The PGR’s statement on Monday noted that financial crimes may have been committed when the loans were guaranteed. The guarantees violated the ceiling on State guarantees for loans laid down in the 2013 and 2014 budget laws.

The PGR announced that it submitted last Friday a denunciation to the Administrative Tribunal, the body responsible for checking the legality of public expenditure, in order for the public managers involved in the scandal to be held financially responsible.

The IMF statement Tuesday described this as an encouraging step to guarantee holding people responsible. But it was not enough, and the IMF reiterates the need to fill in the information gaps in the audit report on Ematum, Proindicus and MAM.

Since June, the situation has not changed. There is no public indication that the PGR has demanded that the three companies to fill in the many gaps identified by Kroll. The PGR has not even published on its website the full audit report � although it has been leaked, and can be readily found on the Internet.

Stonewalling has not worked with the IMF. The position expressed in Aisen’s brief statement is exactly the same as the position the IMF has held consistently since June. Relations cannot be restored to normal until the missing information is supplied.

Other western partners of the government tend to take their cue from the IMF, and have also cut financial cooperation with Mozambique. In April 2016, all 14 donors who used to provide direct support to the Mozambican state budget suspended further disbursements, and they have no yet resumed. They too have made it clear that they want a full explanation of what happened to the two billion dollars.