Mozambique: Tax Official Arrested Over Forged Certificate

Maputo – The Mozambican police have arrested a tax official in the central city of Chimoio for attempting to use a fake university degree to increase his salary.

The official, Ausse Bacar, had worked at the Manica Provincial Delegation of the Mozambique Tax Authority (AT) for 12 years. He wanted the rise in salary that automatically accompanies a degree, but he had never completed any higher education course.

Nonetheless, he presented his employers with a certificate supposedly showing that he had obtained a licentiate degree in Economics and Management from the Manica Higher Polytechnic Institute. But the certificate was a forgery, and on Tuesday Bacar was arrested.

Speaking to reporters in the Chimoio police station shortly after his arrest, Bacar said that one night, when he went drinking with his friends, he said he needed a certificate from a higher education institution in order to ensure a wage increase.

One of his friends, Domingos Calisto, a teacher at the Chimoio Agricultural Institute, volunteered to help.

Last August, Calisto provided a fake certificate and wanted to charge Bacar 120,000 meticais (about 2,550 US dollars, at current exchange rates). After several days of negotiation, Bacar agreed to pay 60,000 meticais, but only after the AT Manica Delegation had accepted the certificate.

“I enrolled several times for high education courses, but I failed a lot”, Bacar said. “So I thought I would buy a certificate”.

He submitted the certificate to the human resource sector of the AT Manica delegation – but its authenticity was checked, and when it was found to be a forgery, Bacar and Calisto were both arrested.

Calisto claimed he did not know where the fake certificate had come from. “I didn’t issue it. I was just a middleman”, he said. “My role was just to contact the parties and then deliver the certificate when it was ready. I don’t know who issued it, and whose names are on the document”.

The man he had contacted to obtain the document (whom Calisto did not name) had gone conveniently missing.

The Manica police say this is the second case this year involving public officials trying to use forged education documents.