Maputo — An official in the Tete Provincial Attorney's Office in central Mozambique was detained last Friday, on charges of corruption.
Speaking at a press conference in Tete city on Sunday, the spokesperson for the Provincial Attorney's Office, Gilroy Fazenda, said the official (whom he did not name) had deposited 2.6 million meticais (about 42,000 US dollars) in the account of a contractor as payment for building work on the premises of the Angonia District Attorney's Office.
Fazenda said this work had been put out to tender, and the money requested in the bids for doing the job varied from 1.3 to 2.6 million meticais. The contractor who put in the lowest bid should have been chosen - but the official opted for the highest bid. To make matters worse, that bid came from a disqualified contractor.
Fazenda said the official, who works in the Administration and Finance Department of the Provincial Attorney's Office, did not inform his superiors of the payment he had made.
Furthermore, he paid the entire amount in a lump sum, and not in instalments, as the work progressed, which is the legally required form of payment. "He did this to ensure rapid enrichment", accused Fazenda.
The contractor (also unnamed), despite receiving the money in full, did not do the job.
"He abandoned the job without saying anything", said Fazenda. "We went looking for the contractor, but he's been a fugitive since last year".
However, the search continued, and Fazenda announced that the contractor has now been located and arrested. Both the contractor and the official now face trial, and a possible 18 year prison sentence.
"What we have done shows clearly that we are working for transparency", sad Fazenda. "We act independently of anybody else, because nobody is above the law in Mozambique".