23 April 2019

Mozambique: Two More Detentions in Helena Taipo Case

Maputo — Mozambique's Central Office for the Fight against Corruption (GCCC) on Monday detained two business figures in connection with the bribes allegedly paid in 2014 to the then Labour Minister, Helena Taipo, and which swindled the National Social Security Institute (INSS) out of over 100 million meticais (about 1.56 million US dollars at current exchange rates).

According to a report in Tuesday's issue of the independent newssheet "Carta de Mocambique", the two are managers of the companies Arcos Consultants and Calmac Ltd, respectively Arnaldo Simango and Jose Pita Marcelino.

Arcos was allegedly one of the companies sub-contracted by the firm Nadhari/Opway to pay illicit commissions to Taipo, in the context of the construction of an apartment block in downtown Maputo.

A similar role was played by Calmac which supposedly issued cheques to intermediaries, who then transferred the money to Taipo's bank accounts.

"Carta de Mocambique" says the GCCC is also looking for the owner or manager of Academia Magic Impressao Grafica, a Nampula-based company which won a tender to provider services to the INSS and also paid "a gratification" to Taipo.

This brings to four the number of people arrested in connection with the Taipo case. The Maputo City Court last week confirmed the preventive detention of Taipo herself, but released on bail Lucio Sumbana, whose company, First Investments, is also alleged to have made payments to the former minister.

Taipo's lawyers have now submitted a request to the court, asking for the seizure of her assets (buildings and vehicles) to be declared null and void. It claims that a large number of technical anomalies were committed in the documents authorising the seizures. The court has not yet replied.

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