Mozambique: Three 'Hidden Debts' Suspects Remain in Detention

Maputo — The Maputo City Higher Appeal Court has rejected the requests for conditional release made by three of the people detained in connection with the scandal of Mozambique's "hidden debts".

This term refers to the loans of over two billion dollars made by the banks Credit Suisse and VTB of Russia to three fraudulent, security linked companies, namely Ematum (Mozambique Tuna Company), Proindicus and MAM (Mozambique Asset Management).

The loans were only granted because the Mozambican government of the time, under President Armando Guebuza, guaranteed them. The then Finance Minister, Manuel Chang, signed the guarantees - which meant that, when the companies turned out to be bankrupt, the government would be responsible for repaying the entirety of the loans.

The three suspects who applied for conditional release were Ndambi Guebuza, the oldest son of former President Guebuza, Antonio do Rosario, the former head of economic intelligence of the Mozambican Security and Intelligence Service (SISE), who became chairperson of all three fraudulent companies, and Sergio Namburete, a businessman said to have ties with SISE.

Ndambi Guebuza is accused of fraud, falsification of documents, and money laundering, while Rosario faces charges of abuse of his position, corruption and money laundering. The accusations against Namburete include fraud, abuse of trust, money laundering, and membership of a criminal association.

According to a report in Tuesday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias", the judges on the Appeal Court, ruled last Wednesday that the three must remain in detention because they represent a flight risk.

The three judges, Manuel Bucuane, Gracinda Muiambo and Achirafo Abubacar also feared that, once at liberty the three might continue their criminal activity, and might disturb the continuing investigations.

They believed that all the necessary conditions are met to continue holding the three in preventive detention.

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