MAPUTO, Mozambique’s Attorney-General’s Office (PGR) says it has received the audit report on the security-related companies Ematum (Mozambique Tuna Company), Proindicus and MAM (Mozambique Asset Management) produced by the London office of the US professional services firm Kroll Associates, reputedly the top forensic auditing company in the world.

Kroll delivered the report late on Friday, thus meeting the final deadline for its work. Initially, Kroll was given a 90-day deadline for the report, which expired at the end of February. This proved nowhere near enough time, and Kroll found itself obliged to ask for extensions, first to the end of March, then to 28 April and finally to 12 May.

A PGR statement said it would now verify and analyse the audit report, checking that it is in line with the terms of reference given to Kroll. It promised that once that analysis was complete, it will, as soon as possible, share the results of the audit with the public, with safeguards for matters that are sub judice.

Th audit was requested as part of an ongoing criminal investigation into the three companies, which is still in its preparatory phase. What these safeguards mean is that, when the report is released, it will omit any names of individuals that may be mentioned.

Ematum, Proindicus and MAM obtained loans totalling more than two billion US dollars from European banks, notably Credit Suisse and VTB of Russia, in 2013 and 2014. The loans were granted because the previous government, under President Armando Guebuza, issued guarantees, meaning that if the companies did not repay, the Mozambican State would be liable.

The banks did not undertake any due diligence, but simply handed over huge sums to three companies which had only recently been created, had no business record whatsoever, and whose shareholding structure was dominated by the Mozambican intelligence service, SISE. The banks did not ask whether the Guebuza government had the power to guarantee the loans, which it did not under Mozambican law.

Only the Ematum loan, for 850 million dollars, was public knowledge, since it took the form of a bond issue on the European market. The Guebuza government kept the other two loans — 622 million USD for Proindicus and 535 million USD for MAM — secrect.

When press reports revealed the existence of these loans in April 2016, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) suspended its programme with Mozambique, since the government had failed to disclose the country’s true foreign debt situation. The three loans, and their government guarantees, added 20 per cent to the foreign debt and pushed it to unsustainable levels.

All of Mozambique’s other major western partners followed the IMF’s lead � in particular all 14 donors who used to provide direct support to the Mozambican state budget suspended further disbursements.