More people should be called to the trial to help clarify the so-called “hidden debts” in the case which is about to enter its second week, defendant Teofilo Nhangumele said at last Friday’s hearing.
The court has already heard two defendants — Nhangumele and former SISE officer Cipriano Mutota — out of the total of 19 expected, plus 75 declarants, including public officials, bankers, businessmen and others whom the prosecution believes will help clarify the case.
Nhangumele, meanwhile, said on his last day of hearing that the proceedings should include “more names” in order to reach the truth that the court says it wants to obtain with the ongoing trial.
“There is an attempt to get clarity on the case just from us,” Nhangumele said when the judge urged him to explain details around ProIndicus, the first of the three companies established by the secret services and through which they borrowed $2 billion in the name of Mozambique. “I have looked at the court process and I honestly think that more names are missing for everything to be made clear,” he said.
Strangely, neither the judge Efigenio Baptista, nor the lawyers or prosecutors asked about those “missing names.”
One of the names that the two defendants have often mentioned, but which is not in the case file, is that of the then defence minister and current Mozambican president Filipe Nyusi.
The defendants have argued that Nyusi played a crucial role, as he led several meetings that culminated in the establishment of Proindicus, including modifications that made Proindicus into a military project valued at $622m, versus the initial civilian project of $350m.
It was Nyusi who, on 21 December 2012, led the meeting that culminated in a decision that after completion of feasibility study, Proindicus should be established; that the supply contract with Privinvest should be signed; and that potential lenders should be contacted.
On 14 January 2014, Nyusi addressed a letter to the then finance minister, Manuel Chang, informing him that Credit Suisse had been identified to finance the project, and requesting that Chang sign a state guarantee.
“It was during this [Nyusi’s] era that the project had other developments until it was financed,” said Nhangumele, who consistently failed to answer some of the judge’s questions, claiming he had already been fired from the project by then, by Nyusi, for not being a member of the Mozambican defense and security forces.
In addition, Nhangunmele says that he is still waiting for the disbursement of $500,000 from the Mozambican side for work done on the ProIndicus feasibility study. He said that this was the agreement at the time of his dismissal, and that Nyusi knows about the case.
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