MAPUTO, Mozambican Transport Minister Carlos Mesquita has accepted the decision by the Attorney-General’s Office (PGR) that the Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) he signed with two companies, Cornelder-Mocambique and Cornelder-Quelimane, last year should be annulled.

The independent television station STV reported here Thursday that the two companies hold the leases on the ports of Beira and Quelimane, and the two memoranda concerned the use of the ports to revive coastal transportation.

At the time the two MoUs were signed in July 2016, the chairperson of both companies was the Minister’s brother, Adelino Mesquita and the fact that the Minister signe the agreements with his own brother seemed an obvious violation of clauses on conflicts of interest in the Law on Public Probity.

The Central Office for the Fight against Corruption (GCCC) asked for an opinion from the Central Public Ethics Commission (CCEP), the body which guards against conflicts of interest, and the CCEP decided that there was indeed a conflict of interest and sent its finding to the GCCC earlier this year.

Mesquita said he would respect the PGR decision, and thus the 2016 contracts would be annulled. He said he had co-operated fully with the legal authorities, and had provided all the documentation requested. Mesqita added that he had acted transparently and nobody had suggested there was anything criminal in his behaviour.

The two agreements were limited in scope, covering only coastal traffic, and had not been implemented. The PGR ruling does not cover the original leases on Beira and Quelimane ports, which were signed before Mesquita became a Minister. He was, in fact, chairperson of the two companies, and his brother took his place when he joined government in January 2015.

Although Adelino Mesquita died in a plane crash in March, the two MoUs will still be annulled. However, new contracts of the same nature will be signed, in a matter of days, by a different member of the government.