Maputo — Rogerio Manuel, the chairperson of the Confederation of Mozambican Business Associations (CTA), has confirmed that the company CR Aviation, in which he holds 49 per cent of the shares, is in negotiations with the National Social Security Institute (INSS), but denied that the INSS has already invested seven million dollars of its funds in CR Aviation.
This week's issue of the Maputo paper “Magazine Independente” (MI) had claimed that the Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Security, Vitoria Diogo, after discovering irregularities in the deal, is demanding that the seven million dollars be returned.
Interviewed by the independent television station STV, Manuel denied this specific claim, and said CR Aviation is still in negotiations with the INSS. Asked whether any INSS money at all had been invested in the company, Manuel refused “to go into details”.
According to the Memorandum of Understanding between the INSS and CR Aviation, published by MI, three million dollars of the INSS funds were to be used to buy a 15 per cent stake in CR Aviation, and Manuel denied that these shares had yet been purchased.
However, he did not deny that the other four million dollars have been invested. This money was to be used to purchase four light aircraft and pay for inspection and maintenance costs.
It seems that part of the negotiations involves ensuring that CR Aviation is quoted on the Mozambique Stock Exchange (BVM). The INSS is not allowed to invest in companies unless their shares can be traded on the BVM, but so far CR Aviation is not quoted.
“I didn't want to go onto the Stock Exchange, but we are doing that now”, said Manuel.
Manuel also objected to MI calling him the owner of the company when he only holds 49 per cent of the shares. “It's a personal attack”, he claimed.
The director of the INSS, Alberto Mauaie, confirmed there was a deal between the INSS and CR Aviation - but because he was only appointed to the post a month ago, he declined to give any details.
“The INSS has investments in various companies”, he said. “As a new management, we are undertaking a survey of all the investments”.
He said he could not comment further, since the matter would be discussed at the INSS board. He promised that, in due time, all the details of any agreement between the INSS and CR Aviation would be made public.
Mauaie denied the MI claim that Diogo had intervened to order the INSS to reclaim its money from CR Aviation. He said the INSS does not receive such instructions.
Deputy Labour Minister Osvaldo Petersburgo, also declined to comment. He told STV that the INSS investment policy is under review and will go before the Council of Ministers (Cabinet).