Mozambique: Arrest Warrants for Alleged Accomplices of Former Labour Minister


Maputo — The Mozambican Attorney-General's Office (PGR) has issued international arrest warrants for a businessman of Italian origin, Emiliano Finnochi, and Mozambican lawyer Henrique Macuacua, who have both fled the country.

Finnochi, a founder and chief executive office of the investment management company, Indico Dourado, was detained in early June. He was suspected of receiving bribes from the Brazilian building company Odebrecht in connection with the construction of Nacala International Airport in the north of the country.

He was accused in the Odebrecht case along with former Finance Minister Manuel Chang (currently under police custody in South Africa, as he fights extradition to the United States in connection with the scandal of Mozambique's "hidden debts"), and former Transport Minister Paulo Zucula.

Finnochi was released after paying bail of 20 million meticais (about 3.1 million US dollars), but he seems prepared to lose this money, since he has skipped bail, and returned to his native Italy.

Macuacua is the lawyer for former Labour Minister Helena Taipo, and the arrest warrants issued at the weekend concern, not the Odbrecht case, but allegations of defrauding the National Social Security Institute (INSS), in the closing years of Taipo's tenure at the Labour Ministry.

Already arrested in connection with this scandal are Taipo herself, the chairperson of the INSS board, Francisco Mazoio, and the former general manager of the INSS, Baptista Machaieie.

According to the accusation from the Central Office for the Fight against Corruption (GCCC), cited in Monday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias", the alleged embezzlers defrauded the INSS of 371 million meticais.

This money was awarded to Finnochi's company, Indico Dourado, supposedly to develop a real estate project in Nacala-a-Velha district, in the northern province of Nampula.

Once the money was in Finnochi's account, accuses the GCCC, he transferred some of it to Macuacua, who then made sure that their share of the fraud money reached Taipo, Mazoio and Machaieie.

This corrupt scheme was discovered while the INSS was investigating a separate case in which Taipo is accused of diverting around 100 million meticais from the INSS in 2014. Taipo is said to have received the money illicitly through bank transfers made by companies that signed contracts with the INSS.

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Ponta de Ouro (Mozambique), 23 Sep (AIM) - Mozambique's main opposition party, Renamo, has demanded a more vigorous response from the government to the anti-foreigner riots in South Africa, which have so far led to the voluntary repatriation of 138 Mozambicans, while hundreds more have lost their homes.

Renamo also accuses the government of behaving apathetically in the cases of the death of two Mozambican police, members of the frontier guard, shot by South African soldiers in June in the Ponta de Ouro area, near the border with the South African province of Kwazulu-Natal. The South Africans were on Mozambican soil when they fired the fatal shots, and it is still not known why they crossed the border.

"Our brothers are dying and we don't see any strong reaction from our government", declared the Renamo candidate for governor of Maputo province, Antonio Muchanga, in Ponta de Ouro on Sunday. "Furthermore the deaths of the two frontier guards in Ponta de Ouro have been forgotten".

He dismissed the government's claim that the country is at peace, citing the low level insurrection by groups believed to be islamic fundamentalists in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.

"Our brothers are dying cruelly in Cabo Delgado, particularly in Macomia and Mocimboa da Praia districts", said Muchanga. "They are living in a climate of fear. What peace is this that they sing so much about?" He told the Ponta de Ouro rally that the country's main problem is corruption, and claimed that only Renamo and its leader and presidential candidate, Ossufo Momade, offer any hope of changing the current scenario and ending the suffering of Mozambicans.

"We have to vote for Renamo and for Ossufo Momade, because our hands are clean, and we want to hold responsible the people involved in the case of the hidden debts, which the Constitutional Council has already declared unconstitutional", declared Muchanga.

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