Southern Africa: Nyusi Promises “implacable” Fight Against Organised Crime

Maputo – Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Tuesday promised that “the fight against crime, and particularly organized crime, will be implacable, so that any Mozambican or foreign citizen may feel tranquil and protected”.

He was speaking in Maputo at the ceremony marking the start of the 2016 judicial year, held under the theme “For the Prevention and Combat against Organised and Cross-Border Crime”.

“Our country is not an island”, he warned. It had become a transit route for some forms of criminal activity, and “there are worrying signs that some transnational criminal networks have set themselves up on our territory”.

Organised transnational crime, Nyusi said, demands new approaches from state “which involve legislative measures, the promotion of international cooperation, and building the capacity of the entire judicial machinery to deal better with the phenomenon”.

The state, Nyusi stressed, must prevent and combat such phenomena as money laundering, the financing of terrorism, , and trafficking in human beings and in drugs. That also required international cooperation through such bodies as Interpol and SARPCCO (Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation).

Nyusi called for “internal vigilance” in state institutions, particularly in the administration of justice, “so that organized crime does not find allies who facilitate the impunity of its agents”.

The President called for a restructuring of the police, and particularly of the Criminal Investigation Police (PIC). The law on restructuring the police, he said, would need to be vetted by all three branches of the state – the judiciary, the government and the country’s parliament, the Assembly of the Republic. He urged that PIC should not be treated as a scapegoat for anything that went wrong in the fight against crime.

For many years, critics have said it makes no sense for PIC to be subordinate to the Ministry of the Interior and to the General Command of the Police, and Nyusi now appears to share this concern.

To the forefront of the demand for change has been the Mozambican Bar Association (OAM), and at Tuesday’s ceremony OAM chairperson Tomas Timbana renewed his call for a new statute for PIC.

“We do not know the motivations of those who want PIC to remain in the Ministry of the Interior”, he said.

He accepted that removing it from the Ministry would not solve all of PIC’s problems, but “ensuring that it is subordinate to the Public Prosecutor’s Office is essential so that it performs its role better”.

The existence of PIC would make more sense, Timbana added, “as a Judicial Police, with skilled human resources, headed by a prosecutor, well equipped, and with its agents regularly assessed”.

Southern Africa

Source: All Africa