Mozambique: Urgency Is No Excuse for Corruption

Maputo — Urgency in acquiring goods and providing public services should not be seen as an opportunity for corruption or fraud, warned Ana Maria Gemo, the Director of Mozambique's Central Office for the Fight against Corruption (GCCC).

Speaking in Maputo on Thursday, at the opening of the Ninth National Meeting of the GCCC, Gemo insisted that speed must not be used as a pretext for trampling on good practices in the management of state funds.

The use of public money to acquire goods and services, she said, obeys rules laid down in laws and regulations.

In the current fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, she added, Mozambican public institutions are receiving grants from friendly bodies, which must be treated as public assets. "They must be used for the public interest, and not any other interest", said Gemo. "The procedures adopted, from the reception and registration of these goods to delivery at their final destination must be as transparent as possible".

"Only thus will we reduce or avoid corruption and other acts damaging to the public interest", she declared.

The Attorney-General, Beatriz Buchili, expressed concern at complex schemes of corruption, using computers to drain money from the public treasury, and to compromise important social and economic development projects.

Buchili said the state financial management system (e-SISTAFE) has proved vulnerable to electronic fraud. "The complexity of investigating this type of crime", she added, "demands that we step up our intervention. We must strengthen our human resources, by allocating specialist computer experts who can dedicate themselves to these matters".

The theft of public funds, trafficking in influence, illicit enrichment, money laundering and other financial crime, all required a coordinated response from law enforcement agencies. "The perception that these crimes go unpunished must not continue", said Buchili. "Otherwise, this just strengthens the belief that crime pays".

Buchili wanted to se a gradual expansion of Anti-Corruption offices across the entire country. Branches of the GCCC are due to open in the central provinces of Tete and Zambezia next year.

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