22 April 2019

Mozambique: Arrests in Manica Over Theft of Three Million Meticais

Maputo — The Mozambican authorities have arrested three civil servants in the Administration and Finance Department in Macate district, in the central province of Manica, accused of stealing over three million meticais (about 47,000 US dollars, at current exchange rates) from state funds.

On Monday, the Macate district administrator, Mauricio Mahsarubo, confirmed that the money was drained into personal bank accounts, beginning in late 2017. The theft was discovered by a team of auditors working in Macate earlier this month.

"The operations happened bit by bit", said Mahsarubo. "During 17 months, these officials took the money out and put it in their personal accounts. In all, more than three million meticais disappeared from the coffers of the district government. The suspects have been detained, and the work is continuing to understand more about the fraud and see if any other people are involved".

The detentions, he added, "are to facilitate the investigation. We are facing a crime. This is money f

rom the public treasury, and we cannot allow officials to dilapidate the state's coffers. With this money, we could undertake some of the programmed activities to develop the district, and improve the living conditions of the people".

The civil servants concerned had passwords that allowed them to enter the financial system. Every month they would take out between 200,000 and 250,000 meticais and distribute the money between their own accounts and those of relatives and friends.

Mahsarubo admitted that the three were trusted officials "who had access to the system and made all the payments".

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