Maputo — According to a note from the Mozambican Attorney-General's Office (PGR), cited in Friday's issue of the independent daily "O Pais", the grounds for detaining two senior officials of the National Social Security Institute (INSS) concern a suspicious contract intended to drain 371 million meticais (about 6.2 million US dollars) from INSS coffers.
The Central Office for the Fight Against Corruption (GCCC) ordered the detention of INSS chairperson Francisco Mazoio a week ago. On Monday he was joined in jail by the former general director of the INSS, Baptista Machaieie. Both are charged with corruption, embezzlement and falsification of documents.
The contract for 371 million meticais was discovered while prosecutors were investigating separate crimes of corruption in which the accused is the former Labour Minister, Helena Taipo, who has been in preventive detention since April.
The case against Taipo concerns the alleged theft of 100 million meticais from the INSS in the final days of the previous government, under President Armando Guebuza. This money was supposedly paid into Taipo's bank accounts by various companies as "gratitude" for the minister's role in signing contracts between them and the INSS.
The new discovery, however, involves a much larger sum. The contract was signed between the INSS and the company Indico Dourado, with the stated intention of developing a real estate project in the northern district of Nacala-a-Velha.
Under this contract, the INSS made payments of 371.12 million meticais. The GCCC believes that this money was used to serve private interests and not the interests of the INSS.
Five people have been charged in this case - but the GCCC has not yet named the other three.