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Latest Mozambique leak puts Nyusi at centre of ProIndicus scandal

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A fresh leak of documents related to Mozambique’s ruinous and potentially illegal maritime security scheme in 2013-14 appear to confirm that the country’s current President, Filipe Nyusi, was one of the architects of the deals – as reported last year by Zitamar News.

According to a photographed document published on Facebook by Mozambican newspaper Canal de Moçambique on Saturday, Filipe Nyusi – then Defence Minister – wrote to his counterpart at the Finance Ministry, Manuel Chang, in January 2014 with a draft contract to award a concession to provide maritime security in Mozambique’s offshore Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to the newly established ProIndicus.

President Filipe Nyusi’s spokesman, Arsénio Henriques, said he had not seen the documents when contacted by Zitamar on Monday morning, and had no comment to make when contacted again in the afternoon.

A letter apparently from Filipe Nyusi to Manuel Chang regarding ProIndicus, dated 15 January 2014

A letter apparently from Filipe Nyusi to Manuel Chang regarding ProIndicus, dated 15 January 2014. Click to enlarge

“With a view to operationalising the SIMP-Integrated Monitoring and Protection System approved by Council of Ministers decree last November, I submit for Your Excellency’s appreciation and formalisation, the proposed SIMP concession contract to be signed by the Government of Mozambique and ProIndicus,” Nyusi writes in the letter.

The concession, called the Integrated Monitoring and Protection System (Sistema Integrado de Monitoria e de Protecção, or SIMP), was a joint project between five ministries – Defence, the Interior, Fishing, Transport, and Finance – according to testimonies given to a parliamentary inquiry into the affair in October 2016.

Filipe Nyusi was Mozambican defence minister at the time that the SIMP was conceived and approved, and when ProIndicus was established by companies belonging to the Ministry of Defence and the secret services, SISE.

ProIndicus borrowed $622 million with a sovereign guarantee, a sum that was later topped up to $2 billion with the addition of EMATUM and MAM. The money came through financing facilities arranged by the London branches of investment banks Credit Suisse and VTB Capital, and by Palomar Capital, a financial advisory firm linked to Privinvest, the group which was sole supplier for all three companies.

All three financing deals benefited from sovereign guarantees, granted by Manuel Chang in defiance of Mozambique’s budget laws and its constitution, which requires such deals to be approved by parliament.

SISE tried to keep all three companies secret, according to Antonio Carlos do Rosario – the secret service officer who is CEO of all three – but EMATUM became publicly known when Credit Suisse and BNP Paribas refinanced the loan as bonds on the capital markets in late 2013.

ProIndicus and MAM remained in the shadows until the EMATUM bonds had to be refinanced in March 2016, as the company and the Mozambique government found themselves unable to keep up repayments. The process of refinancing led to the MAM and ProIndicus deals being uncovered, which in turn led the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and donor nations to halt financial aid to Mozambique pending an in-depth inquiry.

Filipe Nyusi, who became President in January 2015, sent his Prime Minister to Washington in April 2016 in the wake of the discoveries, along with do Rosario and the Isaltina Lucas, the deputy finance minister who was also involved in the deals, to provide further clarifications to the IMF.

Much foreign aid to Mozambique remains suspended today while investigations company Kroll continues its audit into the three deals, which aims to find out, among other things, where the money ended up.

This latest leak comes amid an increasingly febrile atmosphere in Mozambique’s ruling party, factions of which appear to be scrambling to apportion the blame for arguably the biggest scandal in the country’s history.

According to documents published last week, the Mozambican Attorney General has finally demanded access to the bank records of Nyusi’s predecessor as president, Armando Guebuza, and members of his inner circle.

© 2017, Zitamar Ltd. Reproduction and dissemination prohibited without written permission.

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1 Comment

  1. Great insights into the tensions between Frelimo’s rival factions.
    However, with specific reference to the leaks implicating Nyusi, I note that the correspondence in question is dated months after both the ProIndicus and EMATUM loans had been funded. Indeed, the note forwarding a draft contract awarding ProIndicus a concession to provide maritime security was issued two weeks after the (admittedly questionable) SIMP project had been officially launched, under Decree 91/2013.
    If the idea was to fire a shot across Nyusi’s bow, why do you think the leakers opted for such relatively innocuous material – as opposed to, say, evidence of his direct involvement in the creation of ProIndicus?

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