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Hidden Debts: Currency Exchange Office Allegedly Used in Scam Is Under Dissolution

Hidden Debts: Currency Exchange Office Allegedly Used in Scam Is Under Dissolution

The Mozambican non-governmental organisation (NGO) Centro de Integridade Pública (CIP) revealed on Monday, 14 November, that the bureau de change allegedly used to drain money from the hidden debts is in dissolution, without the shareholders having been caught by the courts.

“After Africâmbios’ involvement in the hidden debts was exposed and its low-ranking employees were put on trial, the activities of the bureau de change were suspended by order of the Bank of Mozambique (BoM), the financial sector regulator. Subsequently, the liquidation and dissolution of the company began, when it is still hoped that the involvement of the company in the hidden debts can be clarified,” said an analysis by CIP.

Documents to which the NGO had access indicate that on 11 May, a petition for the liquidation and dissolution of Africâmbios was filed at the Registry Office of Legal Entities, without presenting the reasons for the request. The step was taken by the lawyer of the currency exchange Mohamad Bachir, as liquidator, who entered the request for dissolution – he revealed to CIP – following instructions from the BoM, which appointed him liquidator.

The lawyer also told that NGO that Africâmbios’ shareholders “left the country in 2012, for security reasons, due to constant threats, kidnapping attempts and even threats to their physical integrity using firearms.”

“The State’s difficulty in identifying, investigating and bringing to justice those responsible for Africâmbios, for their alleged involvement in the laundering of hidden debt money, is an example of its incapacity,” the CIP notes.

Former employees of Africâmbios are among the 19 defendants accused by the Mozambican courts of having joined a “gang” and siphoned off US$2.7 billion from the Mozambican state, which had been raised from international banks through guarantees provided by the government.

The Bank of Mozambique and Africâmbios’ lawyer have yet to make a statement on the process of dissolving the company.

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The hidden debts were contracted between 2013 and 2014 by Mozambican state companies Proindicus, Ematum and MAM for tuna fishing and maritime protection projects.

The loans were secretly endorsed by the government of the Mozambique Liberation Front (Frelimo), led at the time by Armando Guebuza, without the knowledge of Parliament and the Administrative Court.

The sentence in the case will be known on the 30th of this month.

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