29 January 2018

Mozambique: Husband Sentenced for Murder of Valentina Guebuza

The Maputo City Court on 23 January sentenced businessman Zofimo Muiuane to 24 years imprisonment for the first degree murder of his wife, Valentina Guebuza, daughter of former President, Armando Guebuza, on 14 December 2016.

The court also ordered him to pay 50 million meticais (US$840,000) in compensation to the Guebuza family.

The judge, Flavia Mondlane, also declared that the court found Muiuane guilty of two other crimes, and sentenced him to 12 years imprisonment for the illegal possession of firearms, and eight years for the falsification of an official document. However, the prison sentences will be served simultaneously, since, under normal circumstances, 24 years is the maximum prison term under Mozambican legislation.

The forged document refers to a South African passport found in Muiuane's possession, in the name of "Washington Dube", but bearing Muiuane's photograph.

The court rejected Muiuane's claim that Valentina shot herself accidentally. His defence was that, in a bitter argument between them, Valentina pulled out a gun and pointed it at him. He then supposedly tried to disarm her and in the struggle she pulled the trigger and shot herself. This account failed to explain how Valentina was shot twice, and was contradicted by the forensic and ballistics evidence, which showed that the gun could not have been fired at point blank range.

Judge Mondlane said there were also aggravating circumstances, including Muiuane's lack of any sign of repentance during the trial, and his refusal to collaborate with the court in discovering the truth.

Muiuane's lawyer, Amadeu Uqueio, announced that his client will appeal against the verdict and sentence. The defence insists that the shooting was accidental, and that the evidence to the contrary is flawed.

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