MAPUTO, There will be no further extension to the deadline given to the international auditors investigating three Mozambican companies, Ematum (Mozambique Tuna Company), Proindicus and MAM (Mozambique Asset Management), says outgoing Swedish Ambassador Irina Nyoni.

An independent, international audit of the three companies was demanded by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as a condition for re-establishing normal relations with Mozambique, and the Swedish Embassy in Mozambique agreed to finance the audit.

In 2013-14, the three companies obtained more than two billion US dollars in loans from European banks, mainly Credit Suisse and VTB of Russia – 850 million USD for Ematum, 622 million for Proindicus and 535 million for MAM — despite the lack of any due diligence, or any sign that the companies would be able to repay the loans.

The previous Mozambican government, headed by President Armando Guebuza, illegally guaranteed the three loans. Loan guarantees for such large sums smashed the ceiling on guarantees established in the budget laws of 2013 and 2014. The guarantees were also unconstitutional, since such debt can only be authorised by the country’s parliament, the Assembly of the Republic.

Since no list of assets or services purchased by Ematum, Proindicus and MAM has even been published it is far from clear what the two billion USD were spent on, whether the assets ordered all arrived, whether they met the required specifications, and whether any of the money involved has gone missing.

These are all questions that the audit, being conducted by the London branch of the American company, Kroll, reputedly the foremost forensic audit company in the world, may answer. Kroll was hired to carry out the audit by the Mozambican Attorney-General’s Office, and was initially given three months to produce its report. That deadline expired on Feb 28, but, given the complexity of the audit, Kroll subsequently asked for two extensions, and the new deadline is April 28.