22 February 2013

Mozambique: Large Amounts Stolen From Education Ministry

Maputo — Corrupt officials have been stealing at least two million meticais (about 66,450 US dollars) every month from the coffers of the Ministry of Education, and the matter is now under investigation by the Central Office for the Fight against Corruption (GCCC).

According to an anonymous letter denouncing, in detail, the fraudulent scheme, it was discovered late last year – so it is perhaps no coincidence that the official in charge of paying wages in the Ministry, named only as Sende, went missing in December. He is believed to have orchestrated the thefts.

In December, the Ministry also suspended the head of its financial department, Abilio Mate, who is suspected of collaborating with Sende.

Two other staff members in the department are under suspicion.

Speaking to reporters on 19 February, Education Minister Augusto Junce said the fraud had begun in 2006 and cost the country around 144 million meticais (about 4.8 million US dollars), according to the Minister, Augusto Jone.

The fraud took the form of duplicating wage sheets for staff at the ministry headquarters every month, and draining the excess money into parallel bank accounts controlled by corrupt officials in the Ministry's finance department.

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