Maputo — Mozambique's Central Office for the Fight against Corruption (GCCC) interrogated Helena Taipo, the country's ambassador to Angola, on Monday and Tuesday, according to a report in the independent daily "O Pais".
Taipo is facing possible charges of abuse of office and undue use of public funds, arising from events in 2014, her final year as Labour Minister in the government headed by President Armando Guebuza.
According to a source in the Public Prosecutor's Office, cited last week by the daily paper "Noticias", Taipo 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), which is supervised by the Labour Ministry.
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 that the companies would receive contracts to provide services to the INSS, or for the INSS to invest in their real estate.
According to "O Pais", the case against Taipo is still at an initial phase. The Public Prosecutor must now draw up a charge sheet, and submit it to a judge who will decide whether there is enough evidence to take the case to trial.
Taipo was Labour Minister through Guebuza's two terms of office (2005 to 2015). When President Filipe Nyusi took office in January 2015, he appointed Taipo governor of the central province of Sofala. In July, Nyusi moved her to the position of ambassador to Angola.