Mozambique: Luisa Diogo Praises Constitutional Council Action Against Ematum Debt

Former Prime Minister and Finance Minister Luisa Diogo on 10 July lauded the decision of the Constitutional Council to declare the first Ematum bond "null", and thus that legally it does not exist. "Even better that we have a Constitutional Council whose decisions are unchangable and irreversible," she added. (O Pais 11 July)

The CC declared "the nullity of the acts inherent to the loan contracted by Ematum SA, and the respective sovereign guarantee granted by the government in 2013, with all legal consequences." The 3 June CC ruling is on http://www.cconstitucional.org.mz/Jurisprudencia/5-CC-2019

On 25 June Finance Minister Adriano Maleiane said that attempts to renegotiate the Ematum bonds had stopped and the government was taking advice from international and constitutional lawyers. (Lusa 26 June) Clearly it is hard to "renegotiate" a debt that the highest court has ruled does not exist

The constitutional council case was brought by the civil society coalition the Budget Monitoring Forum (Forum de Monitoria do Orçamento - FMO) which has taken the lead in the campaign against the secret debt. The CC president Hermenegildo Maria Cepeda Gamito resigned immediately after the decision. But there are two other FMO cases pending, with respect to the secret syndicated loans to MAM and ProIndicus.

In many countries (including the United States) the highest court is highly political. In choosing a replacement for Hermnegildo Gamito, many high in Frelimo will want two things - the first is to continue the practice of simply ignoring electoral law violations. The second will be to try to find someone who can find a way to use the pending MAM and ProIndicus cases to, in effect, reverse the Ematum ruling.

Luisa Diogo has explicitly put down a marker, saying that the Ematum ruling cannot be reversed and thus, in effect, the new CC president must also rule that MAM and ProIndicus loans are null.

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