10 July 2012

Mozambique: Head of Administrative Post Accused of Extortion

Maputo — Some beneficiaries of the District Development Fund (FDD) in Nacaroa district, in the northern Mozambican province of Nampula, have accused the head of the Inteta-Nachere administrative post, of extortion.

At a rally chaired by President Armando Guebuza on Monday, as part of his "open and inclusive presidency" in Nampula, the fund beneficiaries claimed that the post head, Tiago Faque, helped himself to money which should have gone to them.

The FDD is still commonly known as "the seven million" since, when the scheme began in 2006, it was a transfer from the central state budget of seven million meticais (250,000 US dollars at current exchange rates) to each of the 128 districts. The money was to be lent to people who presented viable projects that could create jobs and boost food production.

One of the accusers, Mauricio Tobias, said that he had been granted 50,000 meticais from the FDD - but men acting on the orders of Faque took 38,000 meticais from him. Later, Faque ordered that 30,000 be returned to Tobias - but he kept the other 8,000 for himself. As if this were not enough, Faque had Tobias thrown into prison for a few days.

Tobias demanded that the missing money be returned, and pointed out that, under the loan agreement with the FDD, he is obliged to repay the entire 50,000 meticais plus interest.

Other residents of Inteta confirmed that it is difficult to receive any money from the FDD without handing some of it over to Faque. They claimed that Faque was acting in collusion with some members of the local Consultative Council, the body that manages the Fund.

The report from the Inteta administrative post delivered to Guebuza said that from January 2011 to the end of May this year, the FDD had financed projects in Inteta to the value of 1.9 million meticais. But if those who spoke at the rally are to be believed, a significant slice of this money ended up in the wrong hands. The report did not say how much of these loans have been repaid, merely that "there is a low level of repayment".

Other speakers at the rally denounced red tape in local state institutions. Abel Silema, who has been a teacher in a state school since 1997, said he has submitted three times the documents required for his definitive appointment to his job. He has received no reply, and so his contractual situation remains precarious.

Furthermore, Silema said he had been appointed head of the secretariat in his school, but has never been paid for these extra responsibilities.

As is usually the case in his "open presidency", Guebuza did not announce any immediate solutions to these and other problems raised, but promised they would all be carefully analysed and the appropriate decisions taken.

Guebuza also congratulated the population of Inteta-Nhachere for their efforts in agricultural production, particularly in light of the fact that Nacaroa is a district that has suffered sever hunger in the past. In the 2011-2012 agricultural campaign Inteta farmers produced over 54,000 tonnes of crops - much more than the planned figure of 32,000 tonnes.

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