The Attorney General of the Republic, Beatriz Buchili, defended in Parliament that “no other country has jurisdiction to judge” the ex-minister of Finance, detained in South Africa in connection with hidden debts.
The Attorney General of the Republic (PGR), Beatriz Buchili, said this Wednesday (20.05) that the absence of Manuel Chang in Mozambique is delaying the speed of the process regarding hidden debts contracted by three companies in violation of the budget law in 2013 and 2014.
Buchili was speaking in Parliament, where he went to present the annual report on the legal situation in the country in 2019 and defended the extradition to the country of Manuel Chang, Finance Minister at the time of contracting the debts that damaged the state by an amount equivalent to two billion euros.
Chang has been detained in South Africa since December 2018, pending response from local authorities to two competing requests for his extradition, namely from Mozambique and the United States.
For Beatriz Buchili, “in view of the decision handed down by the US court in the case against Jean Boustani that culminated in his acquittal, the Attorney General’s Office reinforces his understanding that no other country has jurisdiction to try and hold Manuel Chang and others involved in this process but Mozambique ”.
Hidden debts continue to raise questions
According to the PGR, in the context of this case, the Mozambican public prosecutor opened two cases with 20 and 10 defendants, respectively, the last of which includes Manuel Chang. Beatriz Buchili accused the United States of not responding to requests for cooperation requested by Mozambique, jeopardizing the investigations and speed of this case.
During the debates, clarifications were asked about the cost to the State of Manuel Chang’s recent hearing in a South African court and about an alleged figure called “New Man” – who has been associated with President Filipe Nyusi – who would have received two millions of dollars of bribes in connection with hidden debts.
“It is in FRELIMO’s interest that the dignified Attorney General clarifies the nation and the world in which it appears. We are concerned by the persistent tendency to defame public figures in our beloved country,” said deputy Aires Aly, of the ruling party in Mozambique.
The RENAMO deputy João Samuel Watche voiced a demand from the largest opposition party for “the Attorney General’s Office to open a criminal case against the Mozambican Government for having disobeyed the Constitutional Council ruling that deemed the acts of contracting the hidden debts and the respective sovereign guarantees ”.
To answer these and other questions posed by deputies, the Attorney General’s Office will return to Parliament on Thursday (21.05).
State injured by 544 million in 2019
Still in the scope of corruption, the PGR said to the deputies that there are indications that point to the fact that in 2019 the State was injured in an amount equivalent to approximately seven million and seven hundred thousand euros (more than 544 million meticais).
During the preparatory instruction, according to the Prosecutor, approximately two million and three hundred thousand euros (167 million meticais) were seized, in addition to various assets.
“From the comparison between the damage caused to the State found in the investigations and the amounts and assets seized from the defendants, a discrepancy is noted, and the urgency of approving the asset recovery law and the creation of the respective office is urgent,” said Beatriz Buchili.
Security and human rights highlighted
The security situation in the center and north of the country was also highlighted in the PGR’s annual report in Parliament, with Buchili considering it urgent that the National Criminal Investigation Service (SERNIC) be equipped with sophisticated equipment and technical-operative knowledge in line with the situation in Cabo Delgado, the target of insurgent attacks.
The Attorney General of the Republic also spoke of the functioning of prison establishments, noting that there are violations of citizens’ rights resulting from overcrowding in prisons and poor infrastructure conditions.
Beatriz Buchili also expressed concern about the registration of crimes against life, citing as an example the murder of social activist Anastácio Matavele, who was the protagonist during the last election campaign by five police officers. “It is very disgusting when criminal acts of such barbarity are carried out by those to whom the State has given responsibility for maintaining order and security for citizens, as are the cases of some of our police officers,” he said.
“The discovery, all over the country, of lifeless bodies in remote places and in other places, some of which with signs of violence shows that we are facing a society that needs to rescue the values of respect for dignity and love of life ”, Stressed the Prosecutor.
Deputy João Samuel Watche, from RENAMO, asked for clarification on several murdered citizens. José Domingos Manuel, from MDM, criticized the PGR report, which says that it does not present a strategy for combating the increasing mortality rates: “We live with inequalities in our justice, where great rhetoric mentors go unpunished because they belong to the privileged class. Often, he is arrested to investigate, depriving innocent people of their freedom. ”
Beatriz Buchili also rejected the wave of kidnappings in the country, saying that these criminal networks tend to spread to several provinces. Domestic and sexual violence and human trafficking are other cases that have been increasing in Mozambique