The attorney general of the Mozambican Republic said today that the institution asked the United States for information on allegations of payments to “some individuals and a political party” during a judgment on the case of hidden debts in the past year.
“We issued, on December 4, 2019, right after the trial [in a New York court], a request for mutual legal assistance to the United States of America requesting the said information,” said Beatriz Buchili, speaking at the Assembly of the Republic (AIR).
The attorney general answered questions from deputies about the follow-up that Mozambican justice gave to the information produced during a trial in New York, which culminated in the acquittal of Jean Boustani, considered by the Mozambican authorities to be the main defendant in the hidden debt process.
One of the deputies who challenged the Attorney General was Aires Ali, former Prime Minister under the presidency of Armando Guebuza, and now a member of the Mozambican Liberation Front (Frelimo), a ruling party.
Aires Ali asked the Attorney General to identify a man referred to in the trial using the nicknames “Nuy”, “Nys”, “New Guy” and “New Man” and who allegedly received one million dollars (910 thousand euros) in 2014.
The man’s nicknames were mentioned during the trial by the US Federal Bureau of Investigations ( FBI ) agent , Fatima Haque, who is a witness to the prosecution of the hidden debt lawsuit filed by the US justice system.
Fatima Haque said that the American justice system “was not able to definitively identify” the person.
In the responses to the deputies today in the Assembly of the Republic, Beatriz Buchili said that, shortly after the end of the trial in New York, in December, the Mozambican authorities asked the American counterpart for information, but have not yet obtained a response.
“Against all expectations, that country has not yet deigned to collaborate. Our expectation in the speed of the response was greater, considering that the request was made after the trial in the United States of America,” said Beatriz Buchili.
The Attorney General of the Republic pointed out that the reference to names on trial is not sufficient to judge and convict, and an investigation must be carried out to determine the alleged facts.
“Citing names as being involved in facts that could constitute a crime is not enough to bring someone to trial and their immediate conviction, let alone when such a quote is made by an accused” in the context of his own process, Beatriz Buchili said.
The main defendant of the trial in the United States said in court that Privinvest paid five million dollars (4.5 million euros) for the presidential campaign of Filipe Nyusi, the current President of the Republic, in 2014 (one million for his own campaign) and four million for Frelimo), at the request of former President Armando Guebuza.
Frelimo denied that Filipe Nyusi received money that resulted from the operation of hidden debts.
“He is exempt from this, he has not received a bribe,” Frelimo spokesman Caifadine Manasse told Lusa in November.
The hidden debts are related to loans worth US $ 2.2 billion (two billion euros) contracted in 2013 and 2014 from the British branches of the investment banks Credit Suisse and VTB by Mozambican state-owned companies Proindicus, Ematum and MAM .
The loans were secretly guaranteed by the Mozambican government at the time, without the knowledge of the parliament and the Administrative Court.
In Mozambique, 20 defendants are responsible for the hidden debts case, 19 of whom are in detention and one is on provisional release.
In an autonomous process, 10 people are accused, including six Mozambicans, including former Finance Minister Manuel Chang, detained in South Africa pending a decision on extradition requests from the Mozambican and US authorities, and four foreigners.
Today, the Attorney General of the Republic again accused the USA of lack of judicial cooperation in the case of hidden debts, imputing to this fact responsibilities for the length of the judicial process in Mozambique.