Maputo — Mozambique's Central Office for the Fight against Corruption (GCCC) on Monday formally accused four people of a corrupt scheme which swindled the National Social Security Institute (INSS) out of 371 million meticais (slightly more than six million US dollars, at current exchange rates).
The four suspects are the chairperson of the INSS board, Francisco Mazoio, the former general manager of the INSS, Baptista Machaieie, the owner of the company Indico Dourado, Emiliano Finnochi, and Henrique Macuacua, who is a lawyer for former Labour Minister Helena Taipo.
The charge sheet against the four, cited by Wednesday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias", accuses them of embezzlement, falsification of documents and fraud. The case was submitted on Monday to the Maputo City Court for further proceedings which are likely to culminate in a trial.
The GCCC alleges that Indico Dourado took 371 million meticais that was to be used in developing a real estate project in Nacala-a-Velha, in the northern province of Nampula. But once the money was in his account, Finnochi transferred part of it to his alleged co-conspirator, Macuacua, who then divided it with Taipo, Mazoio and Machaieie.
Taipo is already under arrest, in connection with a separate case in which she 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.
Only two of the four charged on Monday, Mazoio and Machaieie, are in custody. The whereabouts of Macuacua are unknown, while Finnochi has fled to his native Italy. Finnochi was a suspect in the case of bribes paid by the Brazilian building company, Odebrecht, in connection with the construction of the international airport in the northern city of Nacala.
He was detained in June because of his alleged role in the Odebrecht case. He paid bail of 20 million meticais to stay out of prison - but then skipped bail and fled the country.
International arrest warrants have now been issued for Macucua and Finnochi.