MOZAMBIQUE SAYS PROBE INTO EMBRAER/LAM BRIBE CASE AT ADVANCED STAGE

Mozambique’s Central Office for the Fight Against Corruption (GCCC) says it has requested from Brazil documents concerning a bribe paid by the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer in 2009 to Mozambican officials involving the purchase of Embraer aircraft by Mozambique Airlines (LAM).

GCCC Spokesperson Eduardo Sumana told journalists here Tuesday: We should mention that the facts in question occurred in four countries, Right now we are at an advanced stage and the countries have responded positively to our requests.”

The four countries concerned must be Brazil and the United States, where Embraer confessed to paying bribes and was fined 225 million US dollars, Sao Tome and Principe, where a shell company was set up to handle the bribe, and Portugal where this company had an account where the money was paid.

According to the documents from the Brazilian Federal Prosecutor’s office, the bribe was demanded by the then chairperson of the LAM board, Jose Viegas, and Mateus Zimba, then the Mozambican representative of the South African petrochemical company Sasol, who was the intermediary who set up the shell company, named Xihevele and registered in Sao Tome, that handled the 800,000 USD bribe.

Xihevele sent Embraer two invoices for 400,000 USD each, and the money was paid into the Xihevele account in Portugal. From Embraer’s viewpoint the bribe appeared successful, since it resulted in LAM acquiring two Embraer-190 planes, for 32 million usd each.

Sumana said the GCCC is now investigating all the staff employed by LAM in 2008-2009, and third parties involved in the acquisition of the Embraer aircraft.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK