Maputo — Ndambi Guebuza, oldest son of former Mozambican President Armando Guebuza, attempted to have the report from the audit of the fraudulent companies Ematum (Mozambique Tuna Company), Proindicus and MAM (Mozambique Asset Management) ruled as inadmissible as evidence in the impending trial of himself and 19 others implicated in the illicit loans of over two billion dollars to those companies.
According to the dispatch from Maputo City judge Evandra Uamusse, ordering a trial in the case to go ahead, cited in Wednesday's issue of the independent newssheet "Carta de Mocambique", Ndambi Guebuza wanted to have the report from the audit company Kroll declared as "null" because the audit was "an interference and an affront to national sovereignty".
Kroll is the world's foremost forensic audit company, and it was hired by the Mozambican Attorney-General's Office (PGR) to investigate the three companies. The report is damning, since it proved impossible to account for all the money. 500 million of the 850 million dollars lent to Ematum seemed to have gone missing without trace.
Furthermore the assets sold to the three companies by the sole contractor, the Abu Dhabi based group, Privinvest, were grossly overpriced. Kroll estimated the over-invoicing at around 700 million dollars.
The Kroll report is a key piece of evidence against all those who profited from the illicit loans, usually from money that was allegedly transferred from Privinvest (although Privinvest, of course, has denied all wrongdoing).
The Public Prosecutor's Office rejected Guebuza Junior's arguments, pointing out that the prosecution had asked the Ministry of Economy and Finance for financial experts who could audit the companies. Instead of individuals, it was decided to hire "an international independent company which could not only audit the three companies, but the entire process of contracting the debts - that is the financing contract and the supply of assets".
Furthermore, the Public Prosecutor added, the audit resulted from an agreement between the Mozambican government and Kroll, and so could not be described as foreign interference.
Ndambi Guebuza also wanted the testimony given by President Filipe Nyusi ruled as inadmissible.
Prosecutor Alberto Paulo (recently promoted to Deputy Attorney-General) had interviewed Nyusi about his supposed involvement in the loans when he was Defence Minister under the Guebuza government. Nyusi had said he did not know how loans had been contracted from the bank Credit Suisse, and he was not aware of the details of the contracts signed by Ematum, Proindicus and MAM to acquire equipment from Privinvest. The prosecution found nothing substantial in this interview to incriminate Nyusi.
Guebuza Junior argued that Nyusi should not have given any interview without authorisation from the Council of State, a body that advises the President, an argument rejected by the prosecution.
Finally, Ndambi Guebuza asked for amnesty. Guebuza argued that the Amnesty Law of 2014, which was intended for people who committed crimes against state security during the conflict between the government and the rebel movement Renamo, should also apply to him because some of the reasoning behind setting up the three companies was to respond to Renamo attacks perpetrated as from 2013.
The Public Prosecutor retorted that this amnesty applies only to security crimes. But the crimes that Guebuza is alleged to have committed - blackmail, membership of a criminal association, falsification of documents, abuse of trust and money laundering - are not security offences and are not covered by the 2014 law.