Raimundo Chambe, the lawyer for the former Mayor of Maputo, David Simango, has announced that his client is appealing against the 18-month jail sentence, converted into a fine, that he received from the KaMpfumo municipal district court on 9 June.
The court found Simango guilty of illicitly accepting an offer or promise and abuse of his office. According to the Central Office for the Fight against Corruption (GCCC), which brought the case against the former mayor, the company Epsilon Investments gave Simango a flat in central Maputo, in exchange for the rights to a plot of land where it wanted to build a condominium.
Chambe, cited in the daily newspaper "O Pais", argued that Epsilon Investments had signed a contract with Simango's wide, Celestina Gonzaga, under which it sold the flat in question and she agreed to pay for it in instalments.
The GCCC claimed that Gonzaga had not paid anything for the flat and believed that the contract was just a device to hide the true nature of the arrangement - which was that Epsilon gave the flat to the then mayor, in exchange for title to the land it wanted.
But Chambe claimed that Epsilon's deal with Gonzaga about the flat long predated the election of Simango as Mayor. There was correspondence about the building dating from the time when the city was led, successively, by Joao Baptista Cosme, Artur Canana and Eneas Comiche (in his first term of office).
Chambe found it odd that the GCCC had prosecuted Simango, but not Epsilon Investments. Thus, the man who had allegedly taken the bribe was in the dock, but not the company that offered it.