The trial of the “hidden debt”, which has plunged the country into a serious financial crisis and is embarrassing even the top of the state, opened on Monday in a Maputo prison.
Nineteen people accused of blackmail, forgery, embezzlement and money laundering, for amounts of several million euros, are to be heard in hearings scheduled over nearly two months. Among them is the son of former president Armando Guebuza, Ndambi Guebuza.
Between 2013 and 2014, three Mozambican state-owned companies – ProIndicus, Ematum and Mam – took out €1.76 billion in loans, including from Credit Suisse and the Russian bank VTB to finance maritime surveillance, fishing and shipyard projects.
This operation is said to have covered up a vast enterprise of corruption for the benefit of people close to the government. Ndambi Guebuza is suspected of having acted as a “facilitator” for his father, the president. Also among the accused is the former head of the security services, Gregorio Leao.
The affair broke in 2016, when the government revealed that it had taken out loans without informing parliament or its donors. After the scandal, the IMF and most of the donors of the country, one of the poorest in the world, suspended their aid.