Maputo — So far this year, Mozambique's Central Office for the Fight against Corruption (GCCC) has initiated 516 cases concerning the theft of state funds, according to GCCC spokesperson Cristavao Mondlane, cited in Monday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias".
In one case, which is still under preliminary investigation, the GCCC managed to recover over 250 million meticais (about 4.17 million dollars) that had been stolen from the state.
Taking the cases as a whole, Mondlane said that so far less than half the money involved in the misuse of public funds has been recovered.
He said that whenever there are signs of corruption, the GCCC attacks the bank accounts of the suspects and tries to recover the money. But in some cases, "it hasn't been possible, because the assets resulting from corrupt schemes have been registered in the names of third parties".
Mondlane thought it was urgent to set up an office specifically devoted to the recovery of assets obtained through corruption.
He added that the GCCC is trying to bring to trial all those it has accused of corruption.
"Unfortunately, the numbers indicate that our situation is not good", he said. "Mozambique is in an embarrassing situation due to the prevalence of corruption. On the other hand, the increase in the number of corruption cases does not mean that there are failings in our performance, but that there is greater awareness among citizens who are denouncing those involved in corruption".
The increase, he said, "is also linked to the inspectorates of public institutions, which are fully performing their role".
But he attacked the banks for failing to cooperate in corruption investigations. Mondlane said there have been systematic delays in financial institutions replying to requests from the GCCC for financial information on individuals suspected of corrupt practices and money laundering.