The former Mozambican Minister of Justice was today sentenced to two years imprisonment after being found guilty of using state money on a trip to Saudi Arabia for himself and three associates.
Abdurremane Lino de Almeida, who was appointed minister of justice, constitutional and religious affairs in President Filipe Nyusi’s first cabinet in January 2015, was also ordered to refund the 1.8 million meticais ($29,000) he spent on the trip, and pay a fine of 1.5 months’ minimum wage, plus 400 meticais ‘justice tax’.
In his defence, de Almeida claimed he had been sent to Saudi Arabia by President Filipe Nyusi to make contact with representatives of the United Arab Emirates, to encourage them to establish an embassy in Mozambique.
In his judgement, Judge João Guilherme said the question of the reason for the trip, or who sent him, was irrelevant. Instead, he said he had to consider “the fact of having broken the law while he [de Almeida]was a minister of justice, trained in the law, [and]a person who should be zealously helping the legality of the state.”
De Almeida refused to comment following the sentencing, but his lawyer, Augusto Mavangue, told Zitamar News that he would discuss a possible appeal with his client.
Lino de Almeida was dismissed from government in March 2016, with no reason given at the time, although the payments had been reported two months earlier by Mozambican newspaper Zambeze.
The public money funded de Almeida and his friends’ 21-day trip to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
In its report in January 2016, Zambeze named the other three travellers as Amisse Baquile from Cabo Delgado, Adelino Pinar from Nampula and Ibraimo Selemane from Nampula.
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