Maputo — The former Labour Minister Helena Taipo, who is currently Mozambican ambassador to Angola, is the main suspect in a case of corruption involving the illicit removal of about 100 million meticais (1.7 million US dollars, at current exchange rates) from the National Social Security Institute (INSS), reports Wednesday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias".
According to a spokesperson for the Public Prosecutor's Office, cited by the paper, there are five suspects in the case, and Taipo is said to have benefitted from much of the money taken from the coffers of the INSS in 2014.
The INSS is supervised by the Ministry of Labour, and Taipo was Labour Minister under President Armando Guebuza, from 2005 to 2015. When President Filipe Nyusi took office, he appointed her as governor of the central province of Sofala. In July, Nyusi took her out of Sofala and made her ambassador to Luanda.
An investigation undertaken by the Public Prosecutor's Office and the General Inspectorate of Finance (IGF) suggests that Taipo received money illicitly through bank transfers made by companies that signed contracts with the INSS.
The report indicates that much of this money was essentially bribes, paid to ensure investments in real estate. The prosecutors argued this was the case with contracts signed in 2014 between the INSS and the companies Calmac Ltd, Arcos Consultants, and Opway Mocambique Ltd.
Two other companies - the printing company Academica Magic of Nampula, and FINAL Financing Investment and Agency Services - received large sums for services to the INSS, and then transferred money to accounts held by Taipo.
She is also accused of running a fraudulent scheme to duplicate travel expenses. An IGF audit showed that she received expenses from both the Labour Ministry and the INSS for one and the same trip. .
"Noticias" says that Taipo has been notified to appear before the Central Office for the Fight against Corruption (GCCC) in the near future.