10 December 2018

Mozambique: Former Municipal Bus Company Officials Charged With Corruption

Maputo — Mozambique's Central Office for the Fight against Corruption (GCCC) has charged the former chairperson of the Maputo municipal bus company, EMTPM, Iolanda Wane, of abuse of her office and illicit participation in business.

According to a report in Monday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias", the former director of the EMTPM Business and Projects Development, Lourenco Albino, is accused of the same crimes, which allegedly occurred between 2013 and 2016.

According to the charges, Wane and Albino drew up a plan to raid the coffers of EMTPM in 2013, when the company was attempting to repair about 40 buses. These were buses of the Volkswagen and Tata brands and represented about 60 per cent of the EMTPM fleet of the time.

Wane and Albino took control of acquiring the spare parts needed, and requested financing of three million dollars from one of the country's main commercial banks, the BCI (Commercial and Investment Bank).

To obtain the parts, Wane and Albino contacted a Brazilian company (APCO Trade and Export of Auto Parts, Ltd), and an Indian firm (A-Z Guef Holding). For such a contract, a public tender should have been launched.

But there was no such tender, and the two accused visited Brazil and India, in the company of two other people who had nothing to do with EMTPM, to negotiate the deal directly.

The deal was a fiasco. The parts supplied by the Brazilian and Indian companies did not correspond to the money paid by EMTPM, which received less than had been paid for. Worse still, the parts that arrived were useless, since they proved incompatible with the EMTPM buses.

No previous study had been done to ascertain the exact nature and quantity of the parts required. The useless parts from Brazil and India are now stored in an EMTPM warehouse. The plan to recover the 40 buses thus failed, and only four were put back on the roads. This scandal certainly helps explain the drastic shortage of buses that EMTPM has faced.

The GCCC estimated that the behaviour of Wane and Albino cost the Mozambican state more than 31 million meticais (about 504,000 US dollars at current exchange rates).

"Noticias" reports that the Brazilian and Indian authorities have been cooperating with the investigations, and that the case has now been sent to the KaMpfumo urban district court in Maputo City.

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