Maputo — Tete (Mozambique), 12 Feb (AIM) - The governor of the western Mozambican province of Tete, Paulo Auade, has given a seven day deadline for the conclusion of the disciplinary and criminal hearings against two inspectors of the provincial fisheries directorate, who are accused of corruption.
Speaking at a meeting of the provincial government in Tete city on Friday, Auade told the Provincial Director of Fisheries, Fatima Cinco-Reis, that he wanted results.
“I want to see this case go forward”, he said. “Don't think that I'm going to forget it. Officials involved in schemes of corruption that damage the state must be held responsible for their actions”.
The head of fisheries inspection, Francisco Zuze, and one of his subordinates, Antonio Cortez, are accused of participating in corrupt schemes whereby they abused their positions to facilitate illegal fishing of kapenta (otherwise known as Lake Tanganyika sardines) on Cahora Bassa lake, by illegal semi-industrial fishing vessels. Kapenta is the mains species fished commercially on the lake.
In exchange for turning a blind eye to their activities, Zuze and Cortez received pay-offs from the illegal fishermen, who paid no taxes to the state.
According to their accusers, who are legal kapenta operators, Zuze and Cortez also made money out of fines. They would annul fines against payments which they put in their own pockets. Again, no money found its way into the state's coffers.
“This case is at an advanced stage”, Cinco-Reis told reporters on Saturday. “This week they will be tried by the court. A disciplinary process is also being established by the Provincial Secretariat”.
Because the case is still before the courts, Cinco-Reis said she could not divulge how much the state had lost because of the illicit activities of Zuze and Cortez.
The legal operators are concerned that the activities of the illegal fishermen are damaging the stocks of kapenta and could even lead to the extinction of the species.