Mozambique: Renamo Call for Extraordinary Parliamentary Sitting Rejected

Maputo � The Standing Commission of the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, has rejected the request from the parliamentary group of the main opposition party, Renamo, for an extraordinary sitting of the Assembly at which the government would be grilled about the scandal of the country’s hidden debts.

In late November, the Renamo spokesperson, Jose Manteigas, said that the emergency session should discuss the allegations made in a New York court by Jean Boustani, a senior sales executive of the Abu Dhabi based group, Privinvest.

Facing charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering, wire fraud and securities fraud, in connection with Mozambique’s “hidden debts”, Boustani was asked to explain the payments made by Privinvest to various Mozambican officials and institutions.

According to the transcript of the court proceedings of 20 November, in 2014 Privinvest paid four million dollars to the ruling Frelimo Party and another two million to “NUY”. Boustani confirmed that the latter was an alias Privinvest used for Filipe Nyusi, the Frelimo presidential candidate who won the 2014 election and is now President of the Republic.

Boustani said the four million “was a payment to Frelimo Party from Privinvest for the election campaign of upcoming President Filipe Nyusi. The separate payment of two million to “NUY”, he added, was also for Nyusi’s campaign.

Because of the seriousness of these claims, said Manteigas, “we consider it urgent that the government should come to the Assembly, since the good name of the country is at stake, as is the credibility of the President of the Republic, whose name is mentioned in these statements”.

Manteigas said an extraordinary sitting of the Assembly was also required to discuss the situation in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, where an islamist insurgency has been under way since October 2017.

“For more than two years there have been armed attacks against the public and against private and public institutions, carried out by groups that have not yet been identified by the defence and security forces”, said Manteigas.

In light of the death and destruction caused by the insurgents, Manteigas thought it imperative that the government explain the situation to the public and what solutions it had in mind.

Speaking at a Friday press conference after a meeting of the Standing Commission, the first deputy chairperson of the Assembly, Antonio Amelia,said that, in the cases of both the debts and the Cabo Delgado insurgency, the Assembly could not interfere in the work being undertaking by “the country’s other sovereign bodies”.

In any case, Amelia added, the Assembly had already discussed the debts, and had determined that the matter should be handled by the courts. He was referring to the parliamentary commission of inquiry of 2016 into the three fraudulent, security-related companies at the heart of the scandal – Ematum (Mozambique Tuna Company), Proindicus and MAM (Mozambique Asset Management).

Those companies obtained over two billion US dollars in loans from the banks Credit Suisse and VTB of Russia, on the basis of illegal loan guarantees issued by the previous government, under the then President Armando Guebuza.

The Commission of Inquiry determined that the Guebuza government had given the loan guarantees without the knowledge of the Assembly, or of its international partners, particularly the International Monetary Fund (IMF). It concluded that the government had violated both the Constitution and the 2013 and 2014 budgetary laws.

This legislature is now drawing to its close. The new parliamentary deputies, elected in the general elections held on 15 October, are due to be sworn in on 13 January.

Amelia said the Standing Commission has set up a working group which, within the next ten days, is to draw up a definitive report on the work of the outgoing Assembly. He said this will include proposals to improve the financing of the next parliament.

Source: Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique