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UK Returns £829.5K in Illicit Assets to Mozambique

UK Returns £829.5K in Illicit Assets to Mozambique

The United Kingdom will return 829,500 pounds (65.7 million meticals) worth of assets from illicit activities on foreign territory to Mozambique. To this end, the deputy attorney general of Mozambique, Alberto Paulo, and the attorney general of Jersey, Mark Temple KC, signed the first return agreement on Tuesday 7 May.

According to a statement released by the Agência de Informação de Moçambique (AIM), the agreement follows a request by Mark Temple KC to confiscate funds deposited in a trust institution in Jersey by Mozambican citizen Carlos Fragoso, who received bribe payments in the course of his work in Mozambique.

The document explained that Carlos Fragoso made the deposits with Tolvex Trust in 1996, claiming to be a civil engineer who was looking to benefit his family with savings from his previous earnings. During his career, he held various high-level positions in the National Directorate of Roads and Bridges (DNEP) and the National Roads Administration (ANE).

‘In 2013, the Royal Court discovered that Fragoso had set up another trust in Jersey, using the same sham regarding his employment and sources of income. The British authorities also discovered that his assets were the result of bribes paid by companies wanting to secure construction contracts in Mozambique. This led to the suspicion that the Tolvex Trust might also contain proceeds of crime resulting from bribery and corruption,’ he emphasised.

‘Following the assistance provided by the Mozambican authorities, the Department of Justice’s Economic Crime and Confiscation Unit utilised the provisions of the Asset Forfeiture (Civil Proceedings, Jersey) Law 2018 to successfully apply for the confiscation of the funds held by the trust,’ the note added.

Meanwhile, under the terms of the memorandum signed, the returned assets will be used in the country to combat financial crime. Most of it will be used to support the development and expansion of the main law enforcement agencies in Mozambique, namely the Central Asset Recovery Office, the Central Anti-Corruption Office and the Asset Management Office.

‘The funds will also be used by the investigation and prosecution institutions to support a five-day training course for 60 trainees from the 11 national provinces on international and judicial co-operation in criminal matters,’ he concluded.

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