Maputo — The Mozambican Labour Ministry has warned that criminals passing themselves off as labour inspectors have been attempting to extort money from companies, reports Friday’s issue of the independent daily “O Pais”.
Four cases have been recorded so far, in which swindlers, claiming to be working for the Labour Ministry, visit workplaces, discover “irregularities”, and then demand money from the company owners as a bribe for not reporting the alleged irregularities.
According to the General Inspector of Labour, Joaquim Siuta, the latest victim was Domus, the company responsible for managing Maputo’s tallest building, known simply as “the 33 storey building”.
In this case the swindler contacted the secretary of the Domus management, and demanded to speak with the director, who was absent at the time. He left his phone number and insisted that the director should ring him as a matter of urgency.
The director did so – only to be told by the supposed labour inspector on the other end of the line that he had orders from Labour Minister Helena Taipo to close down Domus.
No doubt negotiation involving money was then supposed to take place – but the Domus director did not fall into the trap. He rang up the real Labour Inspectorate and found that there was no order to shut down Domus. The Labour Ministry made attempts to detect and arrest this swindler, but without success.
The three other known cases were reported from Beira, Zambezia and Nampula.
Only in Beira was an arrest made. The man found guilty of impersonating a labour inspector was given a ten month prison sentence.
Siuta warned companies not to fall into traps set by swindlers. He said that no genuine inspector discusses work matters with company managers over the phone. Furthermore, the Ministry’s inspection teams always consist of two people, and always carry identification cards that can be checked.