$2bn debt scandal: Court remands ex-president’s son - 9jakam

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Tuesday, 19 February 2019

$2bn debt scandal: Court remands ex-president’s son

A Mozambique court remanded in custody on Monday the son of a former president, his lawyer said, following his arrest in a crackdown on a $2-billion government debt scandal.

Ndambi Guebuza, the oldest of Armando Guebuza’s four children, was picked up from his home in the capital Maputo at the weekend.
He was arrested in connection with government borrowing which plunged the country into its worst ever financial crisis.

Analysts say the scandal could hurt Guebuza’s party, the ruling Frelimo, at elections later this year.

“The objective is to sacrifice the Guebuza family because of the elections,” said Ndambi Guebuza, according to his lawyer Alexandre Chivale.
The lawyer added that his client was remanded in custody after the closed-door hearing in Maputo.

Authorities last week arrested seven other suspects, including businessmen and intelligence officials, in connection with the debt scandal.

The scandal came to light in 2016, a year after ex-leader Guebuza left office following 10 years in power.
It is alleged that while he was still in office, the government in Maputo took out loans amounting to $2 billion to buy a tuna-fishing fleet and surveillance ships, but hid the transaction from parliament and international donors.

An independent audit found that a quarter of the loan amount was diverted, and unaccounted for.

When the debt was revealed, Mozambique — one of the world’s poorest countries which rely on donor aid — was plunged into crisis as donors froze contributions.

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