Eleven defendants involved in Mozambique’s “hidden debts” scandal, including Ndambi Guebuza, the eldest son of former President Armando Guebuza, were sentenced to 10 to 12 years in prison by the Judicial Court of Maputo City on Wednesday, reported the state news agency AIM.
Ndambi was proven to have influenced his father into accepting the coastal protection scheme proposed by the shipbuilding company Privinvest, which led to the formation of three fraudulent companies, namely Proindicus, Ematum (Mozambique Tuna Company) and MAM (Mozambique Asset Management), said Judge Efigenio Baptista quoted by the report.
These companies obtained loans of over two billion U.S. dollars from the banks Credit Suisse and VTB of Russia in 2013 and 2014, under the illicit guarantees signed by the then Finance Minister Manuel Chang, without the knowledge of the parliament. When the three companies predictably went bankrupt, the Mozambican state became liable to repay the loans, it reported.
The report said that Ndambi and his accomplices, Teofilo Nhangumele who invented the coastal protection scheme and Bruno Langa, Privinvest’s contracted consultant, were accused of taking bribes of 50 million U.S. dollars. They were all sentenced to 12 years in prison.
The judge believed that the sentence was too lenient, due to the latest amendment to the Penal Code in 2019, which made the penalty for embezzlement between eight and 12 years, according to the report.
In addition to the prison sentences, those found guilty will have to fully repay the Mozambican state for the damages caused. The sentenced will have 20 days to appeal, according to the report. Enditem