Mozambique says no criminal charges yet over debt

Mozambique’s economy is threatened by its immense debt. (AFP pic)

MAPUTO: Mozambique has yet to find evidence of any criminal activity over its US$2 billion (RM7.8 billion) hidden debt crisis that has threatened the country’s economy, the attorney general said on Wednesday.

President Filipe Nyusi has been accused of being reluctant to expose those in the ruling Frelimo party responsible for the debt scandal before elections next year.

“Facts have been identified that indicate practices that could lead only to financial offences,” attorney general Beatriz Buchili¬†told parliament, after two years of investigations.

Mozambique was forced to admit in 2016 that the loans had been kept secret and were spent on fishing and military ships and equipment.

The government later said it did not disclose the debt as a matter of national security linked to unrest between 2013 and 2016 that echoed the country’s civil war, which ended in 1992.

The loans were supposed to be repaid via an anticipated windfall from recently discovered natural gas deposits, but that has so far failed to materialise.

“Organised crime will continue to rule and to laugh at the courts and on our judicial institutions,” Silverio Ronguane, of the opposition MDM party, said after the attorney general’s speech.

“What happens to those who indebted our country and dragged us into misery?”

Analysts say that the failure to disclose full details about the debt scandal and to prosecute those responsible has delayed a possible International Monetary Fund aid package.