Maputo — Mozambique's Central Office for the Fight against Corruption (GCCC) is currently investigating 549 cases of alleged corruption and theft of state funds, according to its director, Ana Maria Gemo.
Speaking in Maputo on Thursday at the start of the fourth annual meeting of the GCCC, Gemo praised the contribution of citizens to the fight against corruption, saying "every day we receive denunciations from the public of alleged illegalities".
The Minister for the Public Service, Vitoria Diogo, told the meeting "the promotion of good governance and the fight against corruption are permanent priorities" - but Attorney-General Augusto Paulino, from whose office the GCCC operates, was unhappy at the results achieved so far.
He clearly thought there was not much to celebrate in the fight against corruption to date. "Society can no longer tolerate excuses when results do not appear, or are so sparse", he warned.
Legal problems faced by the GCCC have been cleared up - Paulino pointed out that the relevant laws have been amended so that GCCC prosecutors can not only undertake preliminary investigations, but they can lay charges in cases of corruption, illicit economic activities and similar offences, and participate in trials.
Last year a law was passed on protecting witnesses, victims and whistle-blowers, and more recently a law on public probity has laid down rules for the behaviour of public servants, with severe penalties for offenders.
From bodies such as the GCCC, "the public expects more action and more results than they have produced to date", said Paulino, cited in Friday's issue of the independent newsheet "Mediafax".
The work of the GCCC, he added, should be reflected in improved management of public assets - resulting both from awareness campaigns, and from a drive to punish those responsible for acts of corruption.
"If we believe that it is possible to reverse the situation, but we do not go forward, then we will be admitting defeat and defrauding our mission with the citizens", said Paulino.
A strong battle had to be waged to prevent corruption and "to advise the appropriate bodies so that they halt all opportunities that facilitate the diversion of public funds ", he stressed.