Maputo — The Maputo City Court last Thursday sentenced two officials of the City Directorate of Labour, Employment and Social Security to four years imprisonment for swindling the State through the falsification of documents.
Cacilda Chissumba, who at the time was head of the Directorate's Administration and Finance Department, and her accomplice, Dionisio Emilia, were found guilty of forging deposit slips which supposedly proved payment of the fees fixed by law for hiring foreign workers. The forgeries resulted in the illicit entry of foreign citizens into the Mozambican labour market.
Two other accused, who work for a private security company, were sentenced to eight months imprisonment converted into a fine, payable at the rate of five per cent of the minimum wage per day during a year. (The statutory minimum wage in the public administration is 3,996 meticais - about 66 US dollars - a month).
According to the judge, these two defendants were treated leniently, because they collaborated with the authorities in explaining the fraudulent scheme, which cost the State over 200,000 meticais.
The scheme was detected in 2016 by the General Inspectorate of Labour (IGT), which found that a group of staff in the migrant labour sector of the City Directorate had organised a scheme to enrich themselves under the regime whereby foreign workers are hired on a quota system.
They took slips that had been used in previous deposits of fees, and tried to pass them off as new deposits at the country's largest commercial bank, the Millennium-BIM. They pocketed the money involved for themselves.
The IGT inspected 17 cases involving the hiring of foreign workers in January 2016, and found that in 15 of them the deposit slips had been forged, and the sums involved - 210,000 meticais - never entered state coffers.
When Millennium-BIM was contacted and asked to check the deposits, it found that the slips had indeed been repeated, and that on the second occasion no money had entered the Labour Ministry's account.
The foreign workers hired under this scheme were suspended, and the two intermediaries working for the security company were identified. They confessed and led the investigators to Chissumba and Emilia.