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A suspected case of corruption and influence peddling involving the Italian oil giant ENI and the former Mozambican President Armando Guebuza is shaking Maputo. It is expected that the PGR open an investigation to ascertain the veracity of the case as reported by DW Africa.
Since February that Mozambican publications Canalmoz and Savana are reporting on the case, using as source the newspaper “Il Fatto Quotidiano”. According to the Italian daily, former President Armando Guebuza have offered to ENI oil company, a tax exemption on the sale of their shares to the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) in exchange for unspecified favors. The deal will not have been treated directly with the Mozambican state, through the Mozambique Tax Authority, as is supposed, but with the former head of state.
The revelations came as a result of an investigation into international corruption against Paolo Scaroni, former manager of the Italian oil company, carried out by Milan prosecutors. According to telephone recordings in the power of Italian PGR, Guebuza has yet offered a heavenly land in Bilene, in southern Mozambique, “with the possibility of a DUAT (Right to Use and Land Utilization) valid for 40 years.”
Eyes are now turned to the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGR) in Mozambique. Ericino of Salema, a lawyer and journalist, author of the article on the subject in Savan weekly, says there is sufficient evidence to the PGR starts investigating the case. “The company, the former head of state himself and, to some extent, the Tax Authority will have something to say.”
Clarification is in everyone’s interest
The journalist also said that, under the United Nations Convention against Corruption, ratified by Mozambique in 2006, it is possible that the Offices of the two countries to work together to clarify the deal – the Mozambican counterpart express interest.
“If requested, the Attorney General’s Milan Republic has a duty to provide all relevant information,” says Ericino of Salema.
“The former head of state, like any citizen, enjoys the presumption of innocence. But because it was the highest magistrate of the nation, is in our interest as Mozambicans, and also of his interest, to clarify what is said. ”
Will the Prosecutor investigate this case?
Borges Nhamire, a researcher at the Center for Public Integrity (CIP), points out that so far there is no solid data confirming the involvement of Guebuza in this case. However, we need to investigate.
DW Africa tried to contact the Mozambican Attorney, unsuccessfully, to know whether to open an investigation.
Nhamire says you can not stand idly by waiting for the PGR investigate accusations.
“In all major cases involving influential people in politics and economics, the prosecution has not brought the expected results.” Nhamire gives the example of “case involving the citizen Momade Bachir Sulemane, who was charged from the outside to be involved in drug trafficking. The Attorney investigated but the results are not very convincing.”
In Mozambique, the credibility of the justice organs is very low. It is considered inefficient and partial. Its leaders are appointed by the President.
Therefore, in the case involving Armando Guebuza and ENI, once again, the CIP researcher does not expect “compelling results for Mozambicans.” Borges Nhamiri believes that “civil society should carry out its parallel investigation.”
Attorney General appointed by former president
The current Attorney General’s Office, Beatriz Muchili, was appointed by President Armando Guebuza. This can not influence the opening of an investigation into former President?
“This point is central,” says the lawyer and journalist Ericino of Salema. “When we are appointed to a function of these, there are some political trust involved. Nothing can move without the Attorney General’s Office authorizes the Central Office for Combating Corruption to proceed with any investigation. But I hope that her performance may be professional, in the interests of the Mozambican state.”
According to the Mozambican press, the state will have lost $ 900 million in the transaction between ENI and the Chinese company CNPC. The total value of the transaction was 4.2 billion USD. The State should have embedded 1.3 billion, but only got 400 million.(DW)