Mozambique: Anti-Corruption Office Searches Chang's House

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Maputo — Officials from Mozambique's Central Office for the Fight against Corruption (GCCC) on Tuesday searched two properties linked to former Finance Minister, Manuel Chang, reports Wednesday's issue of the independent newssheet "Carta de Mocambique".

One of the houses, owned by Chang himself, is in the neighbourhood of Tchumene 1, in the southern city of Matola. The second is the home of Chang's son-in-law, Ingilo Dalsuco, in the beachfront neighbourhood of Triunfo, in Maputo.

In both cases, the GCCC teams were looking for documents that would incriminate Chang in the case of bribes paid to Mozambican officials by the Brazilian construction company, Odebrecht.

Two former ministers are suspects in this case - Chang himself and former Transport Minister Paulo Zucula. Both are in detention - but in different countries. Zucula is being held in Maputo, while Chang has been in police custody in South Africa since 29 December. Chang is awaiting a decision from the South African High Court, not expected until mid-October, on whether he will be extradited to Mozambique or to the United States to face charges connected with the scandal of Mozambique's "hidden debts".

The bribes paid by Odebrecht were supposedly in connection with the construction of Nacala International Airport in the northern province of Nampula.

A preliminary GCCC investigation concluded that Chang had received a bribe of 250,000 US dollars, and the payment to Zucula was 135,000 dollars.. The searches of the two houses, according to "Carta de Mocambique"'s sources, were intended to find further evidence of the bribe. The search of Dalsuco's house was not concluded, and the GCCC team intends to continue on Wednesday.

There is no doubt that Odebrecht paid bribes - it admitted before a New York court in 2016 that it had paid bribes to secure contract in a dozen countries. The total amount of bribes paid in Mozambique was 900,000 dollars, but the published accounts of the Odebrecht confession do not say which officials took the money.

The bribes the GCCC says it has already discovered come to a total of 385,000 dollars - less than half the 900,000 dollars Odebrecht admitted paying in Mozambique.

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