Intelligent news from Mozambique

Zitamar Daily Briefing, 6 November

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Welcome to Zitamar’s daily Mozambique briefing for 6 November, 2019

Nov 6 Subscriber’s post

Zitamar now offers a bespoke clipping service — Mozambique Media Monitoring — customised to each client’s needs and interests, to arrive in your inbox by 09:30 each morning, Monday to Friday. To find out more, email subscriptions@zitamar.com


Agenda:

  • Today: Laying of the first stone of a Japan-funded project to secure and close the Hulene rubbish tip in Maputo
  • Wednesday 13 – Thursday 14 Nov: Mozambique Gas Summit, Maputo

Today’s headlines:

  • Boustani trial will end 22 November, judge says, as defence seek to exclude Mozambican testimony (Lusa)
  • Former SA justice minister says Chang is no longer immune in Moz (Carta de Moçambique, Business Day)
  • Court ready to try ‘hidden debts’ case in Mozambique (Mediafax, Lusa)
  • Total ‘studying’ two more LNG trains in Mozambique (Reuters)
  • Police special ops commander faces arrest over Matavel murder (Mediafax, Lusa)

Boustani trial will end 22 November, judge says, as defence seek to exclude Mozambican testimony (Lusa, Carta de Moçambique)
The trial of Jean Boustani will end by 22 November “one way or another,” Judge William Kuntz II warned the defence and prosecution yesterday, urging them to make progress and avoid repetition in their cross-examination of witnesses.
The defence yesterday petitioned the judge to not allow the prosecution to call Denise Namburete, Mozambique’s top civil society campaigner on the issue of the ‘hidden debts’, as a witness — saying she has “no personal knowledge of the case whatsoever” and has either been attending court or had access to transcripts thus far. Furthermore, she has nothing to offer the court in terms of the actual charges facing Boustani, the defence lawyers say.
The trial started on 16 October with questioning of Andrew Pearse, the Credit Suisse banker who says he took kick-backs from Boustani’s company, Privinvest, and later set up Palomar Capital Advisers with Privinvest’s big boss Iskandar Safa. His colleague Surjan Singh — who, like Pearse, has also been charged over the ‘hidden debts’ case and has entered into a plea bargain with the US — is on the stand this week, and the third of the ‘Credit Suisse three’, Detelina Subeva, is likely to take her turn soon.
The US also wants to try former Mozambican finance minister Manuel Chang, who is awaiting an extradition decision in South Africa, and Antonio Carlos do Rosário, who is in prison in Mozambique awaiting trial, but highly unlikely to be extradited to the US — and the same goes for Teofilo Nhangumele, who acted as a go-between between Privinvest and the Guebuza administration. Also wanted by the US is Privinvest CFO Najib Allam.
The defence arguments with respect to Denise Namburete seem likely to be accepted by the court judge. What is being tried in New York is whether Boustani misled US-based investors, not whether the ‘hidden debts’ were immoral and damaging to Mozambique. The prosecution could argue that Namburete has relevant points to make about whether the sovereign guarantees were legally granted, but a lawyer may be more qualified to answer that.

Former SA justice minister says Chang is no longer immune in Moz (Carta de Moçambique, Business Day)
Former South African justice minister Michael Masutha says he had no knowledge of former Mozambican finance minister Manuel Chang’s immunity when he decided to extradite him to Mozambique in May. He did not say that if he had known about Chang’s immunity he would have taken a different decision, but simply that he would have taken it into account. Masutha said that Chang is now no longer an MP and his immunity has been “lifted”, which means that he is extraditable.
Meanwhile, the Mozambican authorities have confirmed they will appeal the Gauteng High Court’s decision to set aside Masutha’s decision to extradite Chang to Mozambique.
It is not inconceivable that, following Chang’s resignation as an MP, the South African government decides he can be extradited to Mozambique — but it seems more likely now that he will go to the US.

Court ready to try ‘hidden debts’ case in Mozambique (Mediafax, Lusa)
The Administrative Court of Mozambique (Tribunal Administrativo, TA) has gathered enough evidence to begin charging those involved in the so-called hidden debts case, the court’s president, Machatine Munguambe, said yesterday. He said the court is at an advanced stage in the investigations of those involved and would notify them shortly of the charges against them — but said if they’d have gone ahead before seeing the evidence revealed in the US trial, Mozambique would have been a “laughing stock of the world”.
Machatine’s statement should be further ammunition for the South Africans not to extradite Chang to Mozambique — saying, as he is, that the Mozambican case depends heavily on evidence uncovered by US investigators. His words do also bring some hope, however, of justice for those in custody in Mozambique, who Mozambique will never agree to extradite to the US. The list of those being investigated by the TA includes former deputy finance minister Isaltina Lucas, for alleged impropriety committed while being a manager of Ematum. The New York court has also seen evidence that she also received bribes from Privinvest.

Total ‘studying’ two more LNG trains in Mozambique (Reuters)
Total is starting to study the possibility of building two more LNG trains in Afungi, in addition to the two that have already been sanctioned, a company executive said at the Africa Oil Week conference in Cape Town yesterday. “We’re starting to look at studies for train 3 and train 4, because the resources are clearly there to develop,” Mike Sangster, head of Total Exploration and Production for Nigeria, said — adding that the costs of developing Mozambique LNG were “very competitive.”
There’s no surprise here — the initial two trains was always intended to be the first phase of a much larger project. But whether developing LNG in Mozambique can be globally competitive is something that will only become clear through experience.

Police special ops commander faces arrest over Matavel murder (Mediafax, Lusa)
The Provincial Prosecutor’s Office of Gaza yesterday ordered the arrest of Tudelo Guirrugo, the local commander of the police’s Special Operations Group (GOE), in connection with the murder of electoral observer Anastácio Matavele. Guirrugo’s arrest follows a confrontation between him and the two alleged assassins (his subordinates) who were captured after the crime. It is expected that the bureaucratic procedures for his effective detention will be concluded today. It is not clear what information the prosecutor’s office had for Guirrugo’s arrest, but he has been suspended from office since 8 October, a day after Matavele’s murder.
The latest reports say Guirrugo has been successfully arrested and detained. Judicial sources in Xai-Xai have suggested that the mayor of Chibuto, Henrique Machava, could be the next to be arrested. Machava was named by Savana as the owner of the vehicle used in the assassination — but was not questioned by the police until Savana exposed him.

© 2019, Alexandre Nhampossa. All rights reserved.

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