Maputo — The Mozambican Minister of the Interior, Basilio Monteiro, has warned that "severe sanctions" will be taken against provincial police commanders, or other high ranking officers, who cover up or leave unpunished corruption and other offences against police discipline, reports Tuesday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias".
Speaking on Monday, at the end of a meeting of his Ministry's Coordinating Council, held at the resort of Chidinguele, in the southern province of Gaza, Monteiro said he had been angered to discover that out of over 200 disciplinary and criminal cases initiated against police and immigration officials, the majority have been shelved and the offenders remain unpunished.
"We cannot tolerate impunity", said the Minister. "Those who do not take measures against the corrupt and the transgressors within our ranks shall be held responsible. We shall not allow acts of corruption and lack of discipline to undermine our work and compromise our efforts to provide a better service to citizens".
Monteiro said that many officers cover up corruption, perhaps because they had attended the same courses as the corrupt policemen, or had other affinities with them.
Nonetheless, he added, there had been some recent success, such as the dismantling of networks in the immigration services which had forged passports, visas and residence documents for foreign citizens.
At the start of the current period of governance, in 2015, Monteiro said, the main task facing the Interior Ministry had been to fight organised crime, notably the wave of kidnappings that had struck Mozambican cities since 2011, accompanied by "a wave of agitation, rumours and disinformation, seeking to make the public feel unsafe and to discredit the established public powers".
The Ministry had faced many other challenges, he added, such as illegal immigration, poaching, drug trafficking, cybercrime, and the traffic in human beings and human body parts.
Five years later, "we have succeeded in guaranteeing the normal functioning of democratic institutions, and the normal flow of the economy, with an increase in foreign direct investment and the growth of tourism, while crime and traffic accidents have been controlled", he claimed.