Maputo — The Higher Council of the Public Prosecutor's Office has suspended Mario Mirione, chief attorney in Govuro district, in the southern province of Inhambane, from his duties because of his alleged involvement in corrupt activities, according to Friday's issue of the Beira daily paper "Diario de Mocambique".
Last month, the Mozambican press reported that Mirione was under investigation over the theft of more than 500,000 meticais (about 17,000 US dollars) from the Inhambane Provincial Planning and Finance Directorate.
In December 2011, four cheques disappeared from the Directorate. It turned out that three of them were made out to Mirione, with the falsification of the signature of the provincial finance director, Julio Muocha.
When the disappearance of the cheques was discovered, the relevant authorities were alerted, and it was found that the cheques, for 115,000 meticais, 195,000 meticais, and 198,000 meticais, had been cashed in branches of the country's main commercial bank, the Millennium-BIM, in Maputo and the neighbouring city of Matola.
According to the head of human resources in the finance directorate, Mirione denies withdrawing this money, claiming that somebody else used his identity card when presenting the cheques to the banks.
The Inhambane finance directorate does not believe this story. Dalia Momad Hassene, in charge of external funds in the directorate, had no doubt that, since the cheques were made out to Mirione, he had cashed them.
"He has to tell us who gave him the cheques", she said, "because they were in my drawer. I don't know this person at all, and I was surprised to see his name on the cheques stolen from my drawer".
This is not Mirione's first clash with the law that he is supposed to be defending.
In September, he was sentenced to ten days imprisonment for illegal driving. Despite this jail sentence, he continued to represent the Public Prosecutor's office in Govuro, even though it was alleged that he physically assaulted a police officer during his arrest for the driving offence.
Mirione's suspension was announced during the visit to Govuro this week of Attorney-General Augusto Paulino, who was following the work undertaken by the Inhambane Provincial Office for the Fight against Corruption.