Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Thieves are vandalizing mobile phone masts belonging to Mozambique largest mobile phone operator, the publicly owned M-Cel, in order to steal the diesel they use, Radio Mozambique reported on Tuesday.Most of the thefts occur in the southern province of Inhambane, and the stolen fuel is then sold to motorists driving along the country’s main north-south highway. It is believed that the thieves supply informal fuel dealers who stand along the road, offering fuel for sale at suspiciously low process.A joint operation by the police and M-Cel’s own security guards managed to recover 5,000 litres of fuel that had been stolen from mobile phone masts.The police have now launched an offensive throughout Inhambane against the informal trade in fuel, to stop the dangerous practice of people selling fuel out of plastic containers. 


The London-based charity ActionAid has accused the world’s second largest brewer, SABMiller, of using transfer pricing to avoid paying taxes in many countries including Mozambique. According to ActionAid, the Mozambican state could be losing up to 11 million meticais (about 311,000 US dollars, at current exchange rates) per year from these accounting practices.In its report, “Calling Time, why SABMiller should stop dodging taxes in Africa”, ActionAid calculates that SABMiller may be avoiding up to 20 million pounds sterling (31 million US dollars) in tax a year in Africa and India by shifting funds through sister companies based in tax havens.ActionAid makes clear that it is not accusing the brewer of breaking the law. It states that “the lucrative search for ways to pay less, creating complex corporate structures, routing money through opaque tax havens, and employing highly paid professionals to find loopholes, is legal: indeed, it is so common it is accepted as the normal way of doing business. And it gives multinational companies a distinct advantage over their local competitors”.However, ActionAid points out that “there are signs that the tide is turning against tax dodging in developing countries. South Africa’s finance minister has described ‘aggressive tax avoidance’ as ‘a serious cancer eating into the fiscal base of many countries’”.In Mozambique SABMiller is the majority shareholder in Cervejas de Mocambique (CDM – Beers of Mozambique) which has three breweries, in Maputo, Beira and Nampula. ActionAid has looked at its Annual Report for 2009 and has spotted the accounting practices that the SABMiller group uses in many African countries which have the effect of apparently reducing the local subsidiary’s profit and its local tax liability.In its Annual Report, CDM states that it has a contract for “a management agreement with Bevman Services AG for the provision of management services to the Company. An amount of 54,182,554 meticais has been included in costs in respect of these transactions”.The ActionAid report’s author, Martin Hearson, told AIM that by making payments to Bevman, a sister company based in Switzerland, SABMiller avoided paying 6,501,906 meticais to the Mozambican treasury.ActionAid also highlights SABMiller’s practice of registering some of its brands in Holland where royalty payments are taxed at a very low rate. Its subsidiaries in Africa thus have to make royalty payments to the Dutch based SABMiller International BV for the use of brands such as Castle, which are also brewed in Mozambique.The CDM Annual Report refers to a contract for “a licence and distribution agreement with SABMiller International BV for the brewing and/or distribution of beer products other than 2M, Manica and Laurentina (the three Mozambican brands). An amount of 38,339,082 meticais has been included in costs in respect of these transactions”.According to Hearson’s calculations this resulted in an estimated tax revenue loss of 4,600,689 meticais.In total, these two contracts could have resulted in SABMiller reducing its Mozambican tax bill in 2009 by over 11 million meticais.Other funds may also be being shifted away from the Mozambican treasury.CDM’s 2009 Annual Report shows an inter-group payment to a Mauritian company called MUBEX of 170 million meticais, although it is not clear whether any raw materials or plant and equipment were actually sourced in Mauritius.However, the use of MUBEX is highlighted by ActionAid in its report, using purchases by Accra Brewery (a subsidiary of SABMiller) from SABMiller in South Africa as an example, asking:“How would you ship goods from South Africa to Ghana? Ask a school geography student and you would hope to be told to turn right from the Cape and head up Africa’s west coast. Ask a tax planner and he would tell you to make sure you send the paperwork in the opposite direction. In this third type of dodge, goods are procured by Accra Brewery from another SABMiller subsidiary in Mauritius, 7,000km away in the Indian Ocean. “Sensible commercial reasons – including economies of scale and the management of currency and commodity price risks – lie behind the centralisation of SABMiller’s purchasing across Africa. And unsurprisingly for a group with its origins and regional hub in South Africa, for a long time this was done using a South African company, SABEX. Then in 2008 the group created a new company called MUBEX, located 3,000km from SABMiller’s Johannesburg regional office, in Mauritius. Tax – and specifically Mauritius’ maximum effective tax rate for a ‘global business’ company of 3 per cent – must surely have been one reason for locating the operation there”.In a statement SABMiller strongly rejected the allegations made by ActionAid in its report and said that “SABMiller does not engage in aggressive tax planning in any part of its operations, and the report includes a number of flawed and inaccurate assumptions”. It continued “compliance with tax laws underpins all of our corporate governance practices. We actively engage with revenue authorities and we are open and transparent with our affairs. We follow all transfer pricing regulations within the countries in which we operate and the principles of the OECD guidelines”.

Monday, November 29, 2010


The Mozambican government’s Water Supply Assets and Investment Fund (Fipag) announced on Friday in Maputo that the China Henan International Cooperation Group has won the tender to modernize the water supply network in the western province of Manica. Fipag project coordinator Sergio Cavadias said that under the contract, worth 42.4 million US dollars, the Chinese company will place 100 kilometers of pipes to increase water supplies to three towns in the province (Chimoio, Manica Town and Gondola), increasing the water supply tenfold, from 4,000 to 40,000 cubic metres a day.This contract is part of a program initiated in 2008 to increase the supply of piped water in these areas from the current 30 thousand people to at least 230 000 people, said Cavadias.China Henan International Cooperation Group (CHICO) is owned by the Government of the Chinese province of Henan. It has overseas offices abroad in more than 20 countries and regions in Asia, Africa and Europe,


The Texas-based Anadarko Petroleum Corporation has announced a major new discovery of natural gas in the Rovuma Basin, off the coast of the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado. “The discovery well encountered a total of more than 550 net feet of natural gas pay in multiple high-quality Oligocene and Eocene sands”, according to an Anadarko press release.The discovery at the Lagosta field is close to the company’s two other gas finds at Barquentine and Windjammer. Gas was discovered at Windjammer in February and at Barquentine in October.According to Anadarko’s Vice-President for Worldwide Exploration, Bob Daniels, the discovery “significantly expands this emerging world-class natural gas province”.Enough gas has been found to develop a project to liquefy the gas for export. Daniels stated that “although additional appraisal drilling will be required, we believe the three discoveries announced to date already exceed the resource size threshold necessary to support an LNG (liquefied natural gas) development, and we have assigned an integrated project team to begin advancing commercialization options. Given the global LNG trade and its indexing to the global crude market, this resource can provide tremendous economic value for the people of Mozambique, the government and the partnership”.Anadarko will soon move on to drilling for more hydrocarbons 17 miles to the south at a fourth well, Tubarao.First, however, Anadarko plans to drill deeper at Lagosta. So far, the well has been drilled to a depth of 13,850 feet in water that is 5,080 feet deep. The company intends to drill to a total depth of 15,900 feet.Anadarko is the operator of Offshore Area 1 and holds a 36.5 per cent share of the fields. Its co-owners are Mitsui of Japan (20 per cent), BPRL Ventures and Videocon (both of India, with 10 per cent each) and Cove Energy of Britain (8.5 per cent). The Mozambican government is represented by Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos which holds a 15 per cent interest in the fields.Following the announcement Cove Energy saw its London share price jump by 12 per cent.


For the first time, the Mozambican government has publicly criticized the exorbitant prices of houses and flats on the Mozambican market.During a meeting between Mozambican and Portuguese contractors in Maputo on Monday, the Deputy Minister of Planning and Development, Maria Lucas, demanded that the prices of new housing should be within the reach of Mozambicans, and declared that she could not agree with the prices that are currently being charged by real estate companies.“We encourage the building of housing, but we don’t agree with the prices of apartments”, Lucas said. “The country is in a phase of development that does not allow prices like these to be charged”.She added that companies that build houses should improve their efficiency, in order to ensure that the final price of the houses is accessible.In the years immediately after independence, the state was the main supplier of rented housing. All rented housing had been nationalized (and most of the Portuguese settlers who claimed ownership of much urban housing had fled the country). But in the 1990s, tenants were allowed to buy their houses from the state very cheaply, and the amount of publicly owned housing shrank drastically. A private rented sector re-emerged, charging rents that most Mozambicans stood no change of paying.Almost no social housing was built – instead there was a vast expansion of luxury housing in urban centres, particularly Mozambique, which only those in the high income brackets could possibly afford.Even a modest two bedroom flat will now cost over 50,000 US dollars, and there are no cheap mortgage schemes that would allow the would-be buyer to pay this sum off in 20 years or more. Instead, the commercial banks charge their customers prohibitive interest rates.The result is that even urban dwellers who are reasonably well off in Mozambican terms opt to self-build their homes (sometimes in inappropriate places), bit by bit, buying building materials and hiring workers as and when they can, even if it takes them years to finish such houses.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


The European Commission has approved funding of 22.5 million euros (about 30 million US dollars) for the Mozambican road sector for the period 2010-2013.According to Glaucio Calzuola, head of the European Union mission in Mozambique, cited in a Friday EU press release, “Mozambican roads play a special role, both in terms of poverty reduction, by facilitating access by the poor rural population to public services, to markers and to job opportunities, and in terms of promoting economic development, by supporting trade and regional integration”.The release says that the funds are intended to support “the creation in Mozambique of an adequate, well managed, economically efficient and sustainable road network”.It should contribute to achieving the results expected from the Mozambican government’s Integrated Road Sector Programme (PRISE), namely “conclusion of the priority work in the primary network, improved access to the roads, and creation of sustainable mechanisms to preserve and maintain the roads”.Some of the money will be spent on technical assistance to the National Road Authority (ANE) and the Road Fund, though local training for road officials, and on building the management capacity of small and medium companies (SMEs) active in the road sector.The release adds that, under the tenth European Development Fund, the European Commission has allocated 622 million euros to Mozambique for the period 2008-2013. An extra 12.11 million euros was added to cope with price rises and their macro-economic and social consequences, and 11.67 million euros to compensate for fluctuating export revenue.

Friday, November 26, 2010


Parliamentary deputies from Mozambique’s main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, on Thursday repeatedly demanded that the government scrap the compulsory inspection of vehicles, on the ground that it makes no sense to demand that vehicles are roadworthy when the roads themselves are in poor condition.Interior Minister Alberto Mondlane, defending the inspections, pointed out that the available statistics showed that 55 per cent of road accidents are due to human factors (such as speeding and drunken driving), 35 per cent to the poor state of vehicles, and only 10 per cent to the state of the roads.“If the country had good roads and all the motorists drove well, we would still have a large number of accidents caused by the poor maintenance of vehicles”, he said. The main vehicle problems included poor brakes, bald tyres, unbalanced shock absorbers, and defective lights.Compulsory inspections, Mondlane said, were intended to ensure “that the vehicles on our roads have the basic conditions of roadworthiness”, and could also help train motorists in basic aspects of maintenance. The inspections would also protect citizens buying second hand vehicles, since no second hand vehicle can be sold without undergoing inspection.Such arguments did not convince Renamo, which insisted, against all the evidence, that it is the state of the roads that is the determining factor behind accidents. The Renamo deputies seemed to believe that mobile death traps should be allowed to remain on the roads until every last pothole has been removed.They accused the government of trying to make money from the inspections. But in reality, the inspection has been farmed out to a private company, Control Gold, and no-one has yet shown that this company is controlled by what Renamo is fond of calling “the nomenklatura”. The cost of the inspections would just “make people poorer”, they claimed. “The intention of the government is to take money away from already impoverished citizens”, declared Hilario Waite.In fact, the charge of inspecting a car, including Value Added Tax (VAT), is 702 meticais (about 20 US dollars). Anyone who can afford to buy a car, and pay for fuel, lubricants and spare parts, will hardly find 702 meticais for an annual inspection an impossible burden.As the two day question and answer session with the government drew to a close, so the Renamo speeches became more extreme, until Armindo Milaco compared the ruling Frelimo Party to Satan, and declared that Mozambique has “the most corrupt government in the world”.Milaco claimed that Frelimo was responsible for pretty well every prominent death that has occurred in the past 40 years – including former Information Minister Rafael Maguni (who died in a traffic accident) and former chief of staff of the armed forces, Sebastiao Mabote (who drowned while on a beach holiday).


The fight against poverty is at the top of the agenda of a meeting of the Central Committee of Mozambique’s ruling Frelimo Party that began on Thursday afternoon in the southern city of Matola.The party’s spokesperson, and secretary for mobilization and propaganda, Edson Macuacua, told reporters “the central theme of this meeting will be the struggle against poverty. The Central Committee will discuss how to involve Mozambicans more actively in the fight against poverty”.He insisted that Mozambique enjoyed all the necessary conditions to defeat poverty. “We have a clear-minded and visionary leadership, very clear and daring policies, a country rich in resources, and a hard working people”, he said.The decision to discuss the fight against poverty at Central Committee level, Macuacua added, showed that Frelimo is not a party that regards victory in elections as an end in itself. Instead, winning elections renewed the democratic legitimacy of Frelimo so that it could comply with its mission to serve the Mozambican people, by leading the fight against poverty.He said the meeting will also discuss amending the Mozambican constitution. It would give Central Committee members the chance to state specifically which parts of the Constitution they believe should be changed, and which should be consolidated. Central Committee members might also wish to add matters that were not covered by the current constitution.”After this, we will be able, as a party, to advance with a draft for amending the constitution, Macuacua added.But he did not give any hint as to which articles in the Constitution might be changed. But in an interview earlier this week in the daily paper “Noticias”, Macuacua categorically ruled out any alteration in the term limits for the presidency that would allow the current head of state, Armando Guebuza, to stand for a third term of office in the general elections of 2014.“President Guebuza has already publicly and unequivocally stated that he does not want a third term and has no intention of standing again”, he pointed out. “We have already stated that the direction of any constitutional amendment should be one of continuity with the current constitutional order”.Asked about the date of the next Frelimo Congress (its 10th), Macuacua said that was a decision to be taken by the Central Committee and “so far absolutely no decision has been taken on the matter”.The ninth congress was held in the central city of Quelimane in November 2006. Since Congresses should be held every five years, the next one should be in late 2011.


The Mozambican police in the northern province of Nampula arrested in the early hours of Monday, 141 illegal immigrants, all from Somalia, who were traveling in two trucks, hidden under tarpaulins.“These foreigners were being transported in two Mitsubishi Fuso trucks. It appeared that the vehicles were transporting merchandise”, said Miguel Bartolomeu, of the Nampula Police Public Relations Office, cited by the independent television station, STV.According to Bartolomeu, these illegal immigrants are supposedly handled by a network of human traffickers operating in Nampula. The truck drivers who transported these immigrants tried to use alternative routes as a way to avoid police checkpoints, a plan that did not work since the police authorities had already guessed the intentions of the drivers.Saide Omar, one of the drivers, said that, according to the instructions he had received, the immigrants were heading to Chimoio, capital of the central Mozambican province of Manica.Most illegal immigrants use Mozambique as a transit point to neighboring South Africa. The flow of Somalis appears to have increased greatly in recent months, with hundreds being detained in the northern provinces.This is the second mass arrest announced in the space of a week. On 18 November, the Nampula police announced the arrest of 97 Somalis in the district of Murrupula, who were being carried in a container.


The parliamentary group of the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM) on Thursday accused the government of failing to answer several of the written questions which it had submitted for the two day debate between deputies and ministers in the country’s parliament, the Assembly of the Republic.The MDM had asked what the government was doing to support those families who had lost loved ones to police bullets during the riots in Maputo and the neighbouring city of Matola on 1 and 2 September.When Interior Minister Alberto Mondlane addressed the Assembly, he mentioned the riots but said nothing about any compensation for the families concerned.At this, MDM deputy Jose de Sousa pointed to the case of an 11 year old schoolboy, Elias Muianga, killed by a stray bullet on 1 September. What was the government doing for his family? Even to this very specific question there was no answer.Sousa also noted that the government did not reply to the MDM question “What has failed in government strategy so that poverty levels have worsened in Sofala, Manica and Zambezia provinces, according to the report from the latest Household Budget Survey?”The household survey, undertaken by the National Statistics Institute (INE), showed that poverty, when measured in terms of consumption, had risen slightly between 2003 and 2009 – from 54.1 to 54.7 per cent of the population. This increase took place almost entirely in the three central provinces mentioned by the MDM. In Zambezia, poverty increased from 44.6 to 70.5 per cent, in Sofala from 36.1 to 58 per cent, and in Manica from 43.6 to 55.1 per cent.This contrasted to the sharp decline in poverty in some other provinces (in Inhambane poverty fell from 80.7 to 57.9 per cent, and in Cabo Delgado from 63.2 to 37.4 per cent). It is probably no coincidence that the three provinces with sharp increases in poverty were all badly hit by the Zambezi floods of 2007 and 2008 – but the government made no attempt to explain the figures, and ignored the MDM’s question.Also unanswered was the request for information on tax payments by mega-projects such as the Mozal aluminium smelter, the South African petro-chemical giant Sasol (which operates the natural gas fields in Inhambane), and the companies with coal mining concessions, Vale of Brazil and Riversdale of Australia. Planning and Development Minister Aiuba Cuereneia gave a great deal of data on the scale of investment by the mega-projects, how many jobs they had created, their purchases of local goods and services, and the amount spent on social responsibility projects. But he did not answer the question on tax revenues.The omission is odd, because Mozambique is committed to joining the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), under which all payments made by oil, gas and mining companies must be made public. This might not cover Mozal, but it would cover all the other companies mentioned by the MDM.


Mozambican Prime Minister Aires Ali on Thursday promised that the government will reduce the prices of identity documents.Speaking at the end of a two day question and answer session in the country’s parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, Ali said that all states faced a problem with ensuring that identity documents are reliable.“There is a growing demand for appropriate security solutions”, he said. The Mozambican government had therefore switched to biometric identity documents. These had clear advantages in that they cannot easily be forged – but they also had additional costs.The government has farmed out production of identity documents to the Belgian company Semlex – and the prices have increased dramatically. An identity card for an adult used to cost 50 meticais (less than two US dollars) – but the biometric version produced by Semlex costs 180 meticais.The cost of a passport has soared from between 150 and 300 meticais to 3,000 meticais. The price of a one year residence card for foreigners is now an extraordinary 24,000 meticais. 60 per cent of the money paid for passports and residence permits, and 83 per cent of that paid for identity cards is pocketed by Semlex.The government is now yielding to the protests over these prices. “The government has decided to review the process”, Ali told the Assembly. “We shall soon issue new prices”. Turning to the riots against the cost of living in Maputo on 1-2 September, Ali stressed that it is the government’s responsibility to maintain public order. Violent demonstrations “are not the best way to deal with the cost of living. We strongly condemn those who incite violence and disorder. Dialogue is the way to solve problems”.He urged the public “not to be intimidated by those who call for violent demonstrations”.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


The Nigerian “United Bank for Africa” (UBA) has opened a branch in Maputo, bringing to 17 the number of African countries in which this bank operates.Speaking at the official launch on Monday, the chairperson of UBA-Mozambique, Clement Isikwe, said the bank is bringing to the Mozambican market “a vast range of world class solutions”, and will improve competitiveness in the financial sector.UBA already employs about 50 people in Mozambique, and intends to open branches in other parts of the country as from next year.UBA says that it currently has 7.5 million clients in 750 branches across the continent. It has offices in New York, London and Paris, and claims assets in excess of 19 billion US dollars.The UBA website announces its vision as “To be a role model for African businesses by creating superior value for all our stakeholders, abiding by the utmost professional and ethical standards, and by building an enduring institution”.


Relatives, friends and colleagues of murdered Mozambican journalist Carlos Cardoso gathered at the site of his assassination on Monday evening, on the tenth anniversary of his death, to remember the life and work of the most outstanding investigative journalist the country has yet produced.The crime scene has now been turned into a monument to Cardoso. Under the supervision of theatre director Manuela Soeiro, a simple structure of wood and stone has been erected, in front of a wall bearing the simple slogan “Carlos Cardoso lives!”On a large stone is painted the phrase from one of Cardoso’s poems, which came to epitomize his attitude to journalism: “In the pursuit of truth, it is forbidden to put words in handcuffs”.Addressing the crowd, Cardoso’s widow, Nina Berg, declared “We are here to mark, not the death of Carlos Cardoso, but his life, his work, his courage. For us, this is the most important thing to commemorate. I hope that his work will be an inspiration for Mozambican journalists”.She stressed that for Cardoso journalism had never been just a job – instead, it was a means to the end of securing justice for Mozambique and its people. Cardoso had never pretended to be politically neutral, and Berg defended his decision, controversial at the time, to stand for Maputo Municipal Assembly in the local elections of 1998 on the slate of the independent civic group “Juntos pela Cidade” (JPC – Together for the City). Cardoso’s close friend, the writer Mia Couto, declared “Cardoso was a man who loved the truth and hated lies”.The celebrations were also marked by readings from Cardoso’s poems, and by music and song performed by his son, the 21 year old Ibo. At a trial in 2002-03, six people were sentenced to lengthy prison terms for the murder. Those who ordered it were former bank manager Vicente Ramaya, loan shark Momad Assife Abdul Satar (“Nini”), and his brother Ayob Abdul Satar, owner of the now defunct foreign exchange bureau Unicambios. Ramaya and members of the Abdul Satar family were the key figures in the huge bank fraud that siphoned the equivalent of 14 million US dollars out of the country’s largest commercial bank, the BCM, on the eve of its privatization in 1996.Cardoso had persistently written on the fraud, naming Ramaya and the Satars in his paper, the independent newsheet “Metical”, and campaigning against the corruption in the Attorney-General’s Office that provided the shield granting apparent impunity to those who defrauded the BCM. The Maputo City Court found, and the Supreme Court eventually agreed, that the BCM case had been the motive for the assassination The Satars and Ramaya paid a car thief with good police connections, Anibal dos Santos Junior (“Anibalzinho”), to organise the murder. He in turn recruited the man who fired the fatal shots, army deserter Carlitos Rachid and the third member of the death squad, the look-out, Manuel Fernandes. All are now serving lengthy prison sentences.But other cases remain unsolved. Among those standing with Nina Berg at the commemoration was Aquina Siba-Siba, widow of the murdered economist Antonio Siba-Siba Macuacua. The Bank of Mozambique appointed Siba-Siba as chairman of the privatised Austral Bank after systematic looting had brought it to the brink of collapse, and its private owners, a Malaysian-Mozambican consortium, had handed their shares back to the state. Siba-Siba made a vigorous attempt to pursue all those who owed money to Austral, and on 11 August 2001, his lifeless body was discovered at the bottom of te stairwell at Austral headquarters.The sporadic investigations into the Siba-Siba murder have petered out, and no-one has yet stood trial for the assassination or for the associated looting of the bank.Among the loose ends from the Cardoso trial is the question of compensation. So far the Satars and their accomplices have not paid a penny of the compensation awarded by the court to Cardoso’s children, and to his driver, Carlos Manjate, who was seriously injured in the attack.


The chairperson of the Confederation of Mozambican Business Associations (CTA), Salimo Abdula, on Tuesday called for “daring reforms to improve the business environment, giving greater confidence in the country, and encouraging new investments in the productive sector”.Speaking in Maputo at the opening of the 12th Annual Conference of the Mozambican private sector, Abdula also called for a drive to reduce the production and transaction costs that make it difficult for Mozambican products to compete.Studies made over the last two years, he said, concluded that “the Mozambican productive sector faces one of the highest cost structures in the region, and the business environment has been improving far too slowly. These two factors combined make our economy uncompetitive”.He called for development of processing industries to accompany the Green Revolution that the government advocates in agriculture, in order “to ensure the transformation, conservation and addition of value to agricultural products”.But that would demand “improving policies for access to land, water, electricity, fuel, improved seeds, bank credit and labour”. It also required agricultural mechanization and the adoption by the government of a new policy to finance agro-business.Much of what could be productive land is currently occupied by people who are not using it, despite repeated threats that they will lose their land titles. Abdula wanted to see some action taken – and he suggested a system of land fines, whereby people who did not use the land allocated to them would be obliged to pay “penalty charges”. And if that did not work, people not using the land (generally members of the urban elites, who may have acquired land for future speculation) should simply have their land titles withdrawn.As for industry, Abdula pointed to the shortage of skilled labour in Mozambique, and the high cost of bank loans. He called for reforms in the educational system so that the schools would produce the type of skilled worker needed by industry. In particular, more public investment should be channeled into technical and vocational schoolsAbdula also suggested the creation of “industrial development funds to meet long term investment needs in strategic sectors”, and urged the government to grant incentives “which would lead businesses to invest in modern technologies”.Despite all that has been said about customs reform, the CTA still found Mozambican foreign trade beset by unnecessary costs and procedures. Abdula demanded that customs officials “must be made to understand how much it costs the country to have merchandise stuck at the frontiers and in the ports because of bureaucratic procedures”.Abdula insisted on the importance of scientific research. “In any sector, increasing production and productivity depends on research”, he said. “Research leads to innovation and improvements in production”.The results of research and other useful information needed to circulate among the Mozambican business class. “Our business people, particularly in small and medium businesses, need access to information on business opportunities, market trends, prices and appropriate technologies”, he stressed.


The Day Hospitals, designed to serve exclusively people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHS), which were closed in 2008, might re-open according to the new Mozambican Health Minister, Alexandre Manguele. The closure of the Day Hospitals, was a controversial decision taken by Manguele’s predecessor, Ivo Garrido, who feared that these exclusive units were contributing to discrimination against HIV-positive people.Speaking during a hearing held by Social Affairs Commission of the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, reported in Tuesday’s issue of the newsheet “CanalMoz”, Manguele said that dialogue is underway between the health authorities and various non-governmental organizations working in HIV care in order to reopen these clinics.“This is unfinished business. We intend to work on it and gather different opinions, because we are interested in finding sustainable solutions”, said the Minister.The closure of the day hospitals was met with dismay by NGOs working on HIV/AIDS issues, who regarded it as a unilateral decision taken by Garrido. The NGOs even organised a march to the Health Ministry in an unsuccessful attempt to persuade Garrido to change his mind.In all 23 Day Hospitals were closed across the country. This type of unit caring for the needs of HIV-positive people, began operating in 2003 with the aim of providing unique and specialized care.


Mozambique’s Minister of Culture Armando Artur  inaugurated in Maputo a new National School of Visual Arts (ENAV). The school was built at a cost of 750,000 US dollars with finance from the Chinese government.Construction for the school began in August 2009, and the facilities include eight classrooms, a library, an amphitheatre, offices and a playground.ENAV will offer training courses on Visual Arts, Graphics, Ceramics, Textiles and Teaching. So far 317 students have enrolled for courses.Speaking shortly after the ceremony, the Minister urged students and local residents to look after the new facilities. “This school is the result of the excellent friendship and cooperation between Mozambique and China, which has increasingly solidified and is reflected by the presence of our sister country in several development projects in Mozambique”, said the Minister.Currently China is financing the construction of a number of infrastructure projects in Mozambique, such as the National Stadium - which is scheduled to be inaugurated later this year, the Maputo International Airport, the Attorney General's Office (PGR), and the Judicial Court. The Chinese ambassador to Mozambique, Huang Songfu, said that the new facilities are not just a school but also a sign of hope.“We hope that the school’s graduates will increasingly be the makers of the best pieces of art and contribute to the dissemination of Mozambican art and culture in China and the rest of the world”, said Ambassador Huang Songfu, who stressed that “art is the bridge of unity among people”.The ceremony was witnessed by members of the government and local residents.


Mozambique’s publicly-owned airports company, ADM, has abandoned its plans to rehabilitate the airport in the northern city of Pemba, in favour of building an entirely new airport for this fast growing tourist resort.The head of the ADM Projects Office, Antonio Loureiro, speaking at a tourist investment conference in Pemba, said the new airport would cost about 300 million US dollars, would be built to take large aircraft, and would be able to handle 500,000 passengers a year.Cited in Monday’s issue of the independent daily “O Pais”, Loureiro said “studies made by ADM concluded that the amount required to expand the existing airport is not far short of what is required to build an entirely new airport.The beaches and islands of Cabo Delgado province are already attracting sizeable numbers of tourists to Pemba. The existing airport is received an average of 1,200 passengers a day.The government has declared Pemba a “Zone of Tourist Interest” (ZIT), and further investment is flowing to the area. Thus the Italian group Meta Resorts has announced the building of a 150 room hotel in the Pemba suburb of Chuiba. Work will start on this undertaking, the Chuiba Beach Hotel, in the first quarter of 2011, and should take 14 months.

Monday, November 22, 2010


The London-based companies North River Resources and Baobab Resources have formed a joint venture under which Baobab will develop North River’s exploration licenses at Mount Muande in the western Mozambican province of Tete. The project is looking for magnetite, phosphorus, uranium and gold. Baobab will earn a 60 per cent share in the project if it invests 625,000 US dollars in an initial exploration programme over a period of 12 months.According to a release from Baobab, further investment by the company can bring its share up to 75 per cent, and then to 90 per cent, if it finances a definitive feasibility study. If North River invests on a pro rata basis, it will retain its 40 per cent stake. Baobab says it will “assume technical management and operational responsibilities for the project. Compilation of historical exploration data has commenced, and drilling is scheduled for the second quarter of 2011”.Baobab is already developing iron, vanadium and titanium resources elsewhere in Tete. The release says that “With a view to consolidating its strategic position in the Tete area, the Company approached North River with the objective of entering into an unincorporated joint venture relationship for the purpose of undertaking exploration activities at the Muande project and, subject to exploration success, developing mining operations”.North River holds two exploration licences at Mount Muande, covering 338 square kilometres. The area is about 25 kilometres north-west of Tete city. Baobab’s immediate priority, it says, is to “evaluate the potential of the Muande magnetite/phosphorus deposit”.North River justifies the deal on the grounds that it frees its hands to concentrate on projects in Namibia.According to North River managing director David Steinepreis, “This agreement with Baobab will ensure that these Mozambican licences, which are contiguous with Baobab's Singore and Massamba Group projects, are advanced in order to create value for North River whilst enabling our team to remain focussed on the development of our highly prospective Namibian assets”. Steinepreis said he was confident that “Baobab's highly skilled team, which has considerable experience in the iron ore sector, will be able to realise the potential of this licence for the benefit of all stakeholders.'


Criminals disguised as policemen have been causing chaos in Chimoio, the capital of the central Mozambican province of Manica, according to a report in the newsheet “CanalMoz”. Cars have been stolen and people assaulted in public by these fake police men.“The existence of these criminals masquerading as police has resulted in a sharp rise of criminal cases in this city”, said Manica police spokesperson Belmiro Mutandiua, who spoke to the press to issue a warning about this alarming developmentAccording to Mutandiua, “the criminals are stealing goods in homes, on the public highway, and in companies, where they falsely identify themselves as men of law and order”.One of the cases recently registered by the Manica police was an attack against a sawmill, owned by Chinese citizens. According to eye-witnesses, men wearing police uniforms entered the sawmill, stole various items, then shot and injured a security guard and one of the owners.“We call for great vigilance from the people of Manica”, said Mutandiua. “There are criminals moving around dressed as police officers, and they are practicing a variety of crimes in Chimoio”.Perhaps even worse, last week three real policemen were arrested in the neighbouring province of Sofala, accused of stealing cars in Chimoio.These cases occur shortly after the Manica police commander, Lourenco Catandica had expressed concern at the “inhuman attitudes” of some police, and of police involvement in crimes of corruption and even murder.


The former administrator of Erati district, in the northern Mozambican province of Nampula has been arrested, on charges of stealing money from the district Development Fund (FDD), according to a report in Monday’s is sue of the independent newsheet “Mediafax”.The former administrator, Agostinho Chelua, now works at the secretariat of the Nampula provincial government. Police armed with a warrant from the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office arrested him at the provincial secretariat on Friday.The FDD is still commonly known as “the seven million” because it began in 2006 as an allocation of seven million meticais (about 197,000 US dollars) from the state budget to each of the country’s 128 districts. The money was supposed to be lent to citizens with viable projects that would boost food production and create jobs.But, according to “Mediafax”, in Erati Chelua diverted some of this money to the construction of a small hotel. He also allegedly facilitated the provision of a tractor to a man who was already a successful business figure in the district.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Mozambique’s main opposition party, the former rebel movement Renamo, on Thursday disrupted proceedings of the country’s parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, by demanding another emergency debate on the Mozal aluminium smelter – which would be the second in the space of a fortnight.Mozal is rebuilding its Fume Treatment Centres (FTCs), which deal with emissions from the carbon plant which makes the anodes used in the electrolytic furnaces that convert the raw material, alumina (aluminium oxide), into molten aluminium. The structure of the FTCs has become severely corroded by sulphuric acid, and the buildings are in danger of collapse. Rebuilding them will require the filters to be shut off for 137 days, according to the Mozal management. During this period of “filter by-pass”, emissions (essentially of hydrogen fluoride, dust and tars) will be sent directly into the atmosphere up a 62 metre tall chimney.Environmental groups have protested vigorously, but the studies ordered by both Mozal and the Environment Ministry show that, although there will certainly be an increase in emissions, these will not reach dangerous levels, and will be within the limits stipulated by the World Health Organisation (WHO).After a delay of a fortnight, the Mozal FTCs switched to bypass mode on Wednesday. So on Thursday, Renamo deputies insisted that Mozal constituted “a prior issue” and must be debated once again, before anything on the parliamentary agenda could be considered. The last debate, on 3 November, was an opportunity for Environment Ministry Alcinda Abreu to explain the bypass, and why action must be taken to prevent any further deterioration in the FTCs. Because the ruling Frelimo Party holds 191 of the 250 parliamentary seats, most of the debate was occupied by Frelimo deputies supporting the government position. Renamo had time for just a couple of speeches declaiming impotently against Mozal and against the government.It is hard to see why Renamo wishes to repeat that experience. The mathematics of the Assembly’s composition mean that whenever the opposition demands an emergency debate most of the time is spent by Frelimo deputies defending government policy.One of Renamo’s arguments was that Mozal should not have initiated the bypass before the Assembly passed a resolution on the matter. On 3 November there was no resolution and no vote. The text of a resolution now exists, but, under the Assembly’s standing orders, it cannot be debated until the Assembly’s Legal Affairs Commission issues an opinion on it.The Assembly Chairperson, Veronica Macamo, urged the Commission to give its opinion this week – which would allow a debate next week. The chairperson of the Legal Affairs Commisison, Teodoro Wate, criticized the way Renamo was trying to steamroller the Assembly. “To say something is urgent doesn’t mean it has to be debated immediately”, he said.Before Macamo called for the Commission to take a position this week, it had promised to produce its written opinion early next week. Even that, Wate pointed out, required “an extraordinary agenda” for the Commission.His colleague Alfredo Gamito accused Renamo of riding roughshod over the standing orders, and thus creating incidents that hinder the normal operations of the Assembly. Renamo paid no attention, and with the backing of the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM), forced a vote on an immediate debate. Since there was no text of any resolution to be debated, Frelimo voted against and its huge majority ensured an easy victory.For Renamo, Saimone Macuiana justified an immediate debate on the grounds that “the lives of Mozambicans are at stake”, although he produced not the slightest evidence for this assertion.“Let us allow the Legal Affairs Commission to work on the proposal. The matter will be on the agenda for the plenary, when the conditions have been created”, declared Frelimo deputy Moreira Vasco.After losing this vote, the Renamo deputies put on gas masks, which they wore until the end of the day’s session.Renamo tactics succeeded in disrupting the Assembly’s agenda. After spending an hour and a quarter on debating whether to have a debate on Mozal, the Assembly only had time to ratify President Armando Guebuza’s appointment of Adelino Muchanga as the new Deputy President of the Supreme Court.Other matters on Thursday’s agenda – a bill on the customs regime for Mozambican miners working in South Africa, and a bill authorizing the government to revise the Highway Code – were postponed to next Tuesday.


Mozambican Prime Minister Aires Ali declared on Thursday that all Mozambicans should take pride in the country’s media, which are playing an important role in development.Speaking to reporters immediately after the opening of a meeting of the Consultative Council of the government’s press office (GABINFO), Ali said that, despite all difficulties, the Mozambican press has recorded success in recent years, both in training its staff, and in the way it has covered issues of general interest.”Our mass media is among the sectors where we can be proud of the work done”, he said. “Our journalists have done their best to bring information to the public in the most varied of ways”. GABINFO is an institution subordinate to the Prime Minister’s office, and one of its duties is to advise the government n matters related to the media.Opening the meeting of the Council, Ali said it should not be seen as a panacea through which all the difficulties and challenges in the public sector of the media would be immediately solved, without the need for any creativity and commitment in the search for the best possible solutions.According to the Prime Minister, the development of human resources, and the increasingly extensive use of information and communication technologies are among the factors that the sector should priorities so that the mass media can keep up with national development.


The Mozambican ambassador to the United States, Amelia Sumbana, has categorically rejected news reports that the embassy’s accounts in American banks have been frozen.Interviewed by phone in Friday’s edition of the independent daily “O Pais”, Sumbana said she knew that banks in Washington had frozen the accounts of some African embassies – but this action had not affected any Mozambican accounts.“There is a list circulating and Mozambique’s name is on it”, she said. “We don’t know where that list comes from, and it’s not addressed to anybody. What I can say is that nothing has happened to us. There has been no closure of our accounts”.She added that when the list of countries allegedly affected began to circulate, the Embassy contacted the US State Department and the bank where its accounts are held. Both the bank and the State Department “told us we are not affected”, Sumbana said.“We are, however, worried about what might happen over the coming days”, she added, “because we don’t know why the accounts of other countries were closed”.Sumbana’s statements are in line with what a senior official in the Mozambican Foreign Ministry told the daily paper “Noticias” – namely that the matter is worrying, because of the lack of explanation, but that Mozambique has not yet been affected.“This creates instability”, the official said. “The worst thing is that there is never any explanation. Some countries had their accounts closed from one day to the next. But as far as we’re concerned, our bank continues to say there’s no problem”.Tobias Bradford, the public affairs office at the US embassy in Maputo, told “Noticias” that three American commercial banks, namely the Bank of America, Citibank and J.P. Morgan Chase, had frozen the accounts or ended banking relations with some diplomatic missions – not only from Africa, but from other continents as well.He said these decisions were based on respect for US and international norms in the fight against money laundering and the fight against terrorism.“Those banks decided to freeze accounts of diplomatic missions that they thought were high risk”, said Bradford. “This happens, for example, when a client uses personal accounts for official business, or withdraws large sums of cash. But we know there is no information on any freezing of Mozambican accounts”.Bradford said the banks are private and are not directly controlled by the US government. Indeed, the State Department regretted what had happened, and is in dialogue with the banks “to identify other options”.“The US government is optimistic that there will be a positive solution”, he said, “because we know that several other banks are looking for diplomatic clients. We have hundreds of banks, and I am sure that that these diplomatic missions will soon find banking services in other US financial institutions”.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


The Discipline Council of the Mozambican Football League (LMF) has sent to the Central Office for the Fight Against Corruption (GCCC) claims made by Arnaldo Salvado, former trainer of the national team, of serious corruption and match-fixing.The GCCC is a specialist unit operating from the Attorney-General’s Office.Salvado’s most explosive claim is that players of the club Atletico Muculmano (Moslem Athletic) were bribed to lose a key match in the main national football competition, Mocambola.Those who did the bribing, according to Salvado, were leaders of a second Moslem club, the Liga Muculmana (Moslem League). As a result, Liga Mucalmana won its match against Atletico Muculmano and went on to win the championship.Salvado’s letter, extracts from which were published by the independent daily “O Pais”, goes into detail about the alleged bribes. He claimed, for example, that the Atletico Muculmano goalkeeper was paid 10,000 meticais (about 280 US dollars) in advance of the game, with promises of more to come later, and that another team member was asked for his bank account number so that a bribe could be deposited.If Salvado’s claims are proved, this could lead to Liga Mucalmana losing its title, and even being thrown out of Mocambola. Salvado asked the LMF not to award Liga Muculmana the title of champion, until a full investigation has been undertaken.But in reality Liga Muculmana has already been awarded the championship, and the LMF has already handed over the cup – though, if match-fixing claims are proven, the club could still be stripped of the title.In a separate letter, Salvado claimed that “a considerable group of referees” are systematically “distorting results and adulterating championships”. The National Commission of Football Referees (CNAF) has promised to respond to this letter.

Monday, November 15, 2010


Repair work on the Samora Machel bridge over the Zambezi river, in the western Mozambican city of Tete, has run into further delays, and will not be completed by 31 December as hoped, reports Monday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”.Initially the work should have finished by July, but was extended to December. Now the contractor says the repairs will not be complete until the middle of the first quarter of 2011. The delay is blamed on “technical and organizational problems”, plus work accidents, and sabotage by some motorists, who are accused of destroying some material intended for the rehabilitation.The major task of replacing all the suspension cables that hold the bridge up has been completed, but Pearash Chandra, the chief inspector of the company GRID (Consultancies, Studies and Engineering Projects Limited), hired to inspect the job, admitted that other work would continue into the first quarter of 2011.The bridge is not closed to traffic, but the work means that restrictions are in place. Traffic goes one way over the bridge for half an hour, then vehicles traveling in the other direction are let through for the next 30 minutes. This causes delays for the 600 to 800 heavy trucks a day that cross the Zambezi at Tete. Some are carrying equipment for the major coal mining projects in Moatize district, while others are destined for neighbouring countries, such as Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia.The total cost of the repairs are put at 980 million meticais (about 27.5 million US dollars, at current exchange rates), financed entirely by the Mozambican government. The work began in March 2009, and was initially scheduled to last no more than 18 months.


About 15,000 Mozambican peasant farmers, mostly in the south and centre of the country, are benefiting from agricultural credit, under the Rural Finance Support Programme.This programme is valued at 34.2 million US dollars, and is funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), together with the African Development Bank (ADB). The programme is integrated into the Mozambican government’s Economic Rehabilitation Support Fund (FARE).According to FARE official Rufino Duvane, the number of beneficiaries from the Rural Finance Support Programme is likely to increase as from 2011, when the area covered expands to include the northern provinces. The target is that the programme should benefit at least 30,000 producers by 2012.Speaking to reporters at a workshop on the implementation of projects financed by IFAD, Duvane said the money is allocated to farmers via micro-finance institutions. Currently 41 such institutions are involved in the programme.“The number could increase to 55”, said Duvane, “because many proposals are still being assessed. In terms of direct beneficiaries, currently we have about 15,000”.“We want to expand these services to the north, and in the next two years we hope to achieve total coverage of the rural zones”, he said. “Right now, we are working to publicise the programme, so as to attract more producers”.For his part, the coordinator of the government’s National Agricultural Development Programme (PROAGRI), Fernando Songane, explained that the Rural Finance Support Programme would solve the problem of peasants’ access to credit.“This programme seeks to create the capacity so that the producers can receive funding and manage these resources properly to avoid problems in repayment”, he said. The objective of the programme is to encourage the expansion of financial institutions in the rural areas, ensuring that individuals, groups and companies in the Mozambican countryside can enjoy sustainable access to financial services. It is hoped to establish a political and institutional climate favourable to the development of rural financial services.At the opening of the workshop, the Minister of Planning and Development, Aiuba Cuereneia, said that the Mozambican government will continue to prioritise investment in agriculture in order to increase productivity.He stressed that the current levels of productivity remain very low due to the low use of modern agricultural inputs, the inadequate coverage of extension services, and high rural illiteracy rates.“We shall increase our production as a result of increased productivity, particularly of food crops”, said Cuereneia. “Agriculture is the predominant sector in the countryside, where the highest levels of poverty are found. It continues to play a key role in food security, and employs the greatest percentage of our rural population”,


Mozambique’s publicly-owned Airports Company (ADM) has announced that it will soon embark on the construction of a new domestic passenger terminal at Maputo Airport, budgeted at 110 million US dollars.The Chairperson of the ADM Board of Directors, Manuel Veterano, announced the plans during a gala dinner on Friday given on the occasion of the inauguration of the new international terminal.The international terminal cost about 75 million dollars, provided by China, as a low interest loan. China is also expected to finance the construction of the new domestic terminal. There will first be investment of three million dollars in acquiring new fire fighting equipment and a new VOR (very high frequency omni-directional radio), a standard radio navigation system for aircraft.“After this phase, there follows the construction of the largest and most modern domestic terminal in the country, and a building for the firemen, a total investment of 110 million dollars”, said Veterano. The two terminals and all the ancillary equipment, taken together, amount to an investment of 190 million dollars.Currently, ADM is also negotiating with private companies the possibility of building a new hotel and a range of offices on land owned by the airport. “All these actions will give our airport a modern and safe infrastructure, in line with international standards”, said Veterano.ADM is responsible for managing 19 airports and aerodromes, of which five have the status of international airports. Modernisation covers not only Maputo, but several other key airports. Thus the old military air base at Nacala, on the northern coast, is to be turned into an international airport. The runway will be repaired and extended, and a new apron will be built that can accommodate four planes simultaneously, including two large aircraft for international flights.“All the airport buildings will be entirely new, with a total covered area of 16,000 square metres”, according to an ADM document on Nacala. The Brazilian government has promised to finance the Nacala airport to the tune of 80 million dollars.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Mozambican Interior Minister Alberto Mondlane has called the current levels of corruption within the Traffic Police intolerable.During the opening ceremony of the National Meeting of Traffic Police, held in Beira, the capital of Sofala province, the Minister said “we urge traffic police officers to change their behaviour as the current situation is very worrying and we can no longer tolerate such things”.Mondlane emphasized that his Ministry is demanding that police officers perform their duties and responsibilities, and underlined that institutional efforts are focused on overcoming the evil of corruption.On 5 November, as part of the celebrations of Legality Day, the police announced that this year 30 police officers have been arrested and accused of corruption. According to police spokesman Pedro Cossa, some of these officers have already been tried and convicted, while others are still awaiting the outcome of their cases.According to Cossa, these police officers have been accused of supplying firearms to criminals, associating or collaborating with criminal gangs, extortion, and other offences.

Friday, November 12, 2010

800 SA farmers sign deals in Mozambique

Agri SA deputy president Theo de Jager said their expansion to other countries was important especially in managing typical commercial issues like livestock and disease."Our borders are fading out...Intergrated Africa is a reality," De Jager said in Pretoria on Thursday.Agri SA will attend the conference in Mozambique's Xai-Xai region together with South African government, to discuss the expansion of production activities to that country.South African farmers have received new land offers to grow crops in over 20 countries.The Democratic Republic of Congo is among the countries which early last year extended an invite and has signed an agreement to lease 200,000 hectares of land to South African farmers.However, De Jager said farmers still viewed Mozambique as a pilot project."We have just closed the final matters on individuals farmers, between farmers, DRC and the department of agriculture two weeks ago," he said."We are still waiting for the state advocate to come up with final documents. We should be able to accompany the first farmers to that country early next year."The move was seen as a way of bringing expertise to the DRC and reduce its dependence on imports.White farmers have been very unfavourable to the ANC government's land policy, saying it was forcing them to seek land abroad.Commenting on government's land reform green paper, De Jager said they felt uncomfortable with government's intervention in the land market.According to the Rural Development and Land Reform Ministry, the green paper seeks to redress the shortcomings of the land distribution programme that has left many farms unproductive in the hands of beneficiaries."What went wrong in land reform was not due to faultiness in the market it was because of lack of capacity in the department itself," he said."The department and the ministry have acknowledged major problems relating to fraud, corruption, nepotism, mismanagement, poor planning and execution. The land market has no problem , the problem was with the execution."De Jager said it came as no surprise that the senior officials in the ministry had been replaced."It's the right way to start."Earlier, the union highlighted its support for black South Africans' purchasing land for farming.The number of black emerging commercial farmers around the country was estimated to be 700.There was however currently no system of determining how much land was in the hands of black or white farmers.De Jager said a database was being developed to help in this regard.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


The trial began in Maputo on Tuesday of the former director of the Mozambican government’s Date Processing Centre (CPD), Orlando Come, accused of the theft of about 4.6 million meticais (about 128,000 US dollars, at current exchange rates) of public funds.Come faces charges of payment of undue remuneration, abuse of trust, and abuse of his position. Sitting beside him in the dock is the former head of administration and finance at the CPD, Manuel Vilankulos, charged with accepting illegal orders given by Come.According to the charge sheet, read out by judge Fernando Bila, Come improperly used a Visa credit card issued by the CPD to cover trips abroad and “entertainment expenses”. The credit card initially had a limit of 100,000 meticais, but could be recharged whenever Come liked.Come used the card, even when he received mission allowances from the CPD. Hence the CPD was paying twice over for Come’s trips. According to the prosecution he spent 1.3 million meticais to pay allowances and travel costs. The trips abroad were supposedly for training purposes, or to represent the CPD at business meetings.Come approved the issue of his own credit card, after a decision taken at a meeting of the Board of Directors which he chaired. There was no requirement to produce receipts for the credit card expenditure. In addition, Come transferred 1.1 million meticais from CPD bank accounts to his personal accounts.The prosecution also accused Come of using CPD funds to rent an apartment, for 116,000 meticais from a woman named Isabel Cristina Filipe – but the CPD never used the apartment.The prosecution also alleges that Come paid school fees for his daughter and niece, totalling 45,900 meticais, out of CPD funds, and of spending 37,900 meticais of CPD money to repair his daughter’s car.Asked to explain these charges, Come said that the CPD had a Strategic Plan which included a staff training component. This implied granting scholarships for courses inside and outside the country from which he too benefited. Apart from the scholarships, expenses were paid, and these were included on the CPD’s annual budget, sent to the Ministry of Finance for approval.He thought it quite legitimate to use the credit card to pay for lunches and dinners “for my guests”. He admitted that he had sometimes exceeded the 100,000 meticais limit “out of mere professional necessity”.As for the transfers to his account, Come said these were back wages owing to him from his previous post as National Director of Statistics. From 1992 to 1997 he was both head of the CPD and National Director of Statistics, He saw nothing wrong in claiming a full wage packet for both supposedly full-time jobs. For each job he was receiving a monthly salary of around 79,000 meticais.After five years as director of statistics, one of the quirks of the Mozambican public sector wage system allowed Come to claim the category of National Director and go on claiming the “historic salary” of 79,000 meticais, even after he had definitively left the National Statistics Institute (INE).Come said that in 2005, Finance Minister Manuel Chang sent a letter to the CPD informing it that from then on, the CPD should pay Come’s “historic salary”. So Come would have two salaries, both of them very large by Mozambican standards, paid by the CPD. ”The letter reached the CPD a month after the Finance Ministry had stopped paying the salary of national director to which I was entitled, and the CPD took responsibility for these payments”, said Come. “We are talking about three or four months of back wages”. But the “historic salary” was only paid when the CPD had enough money – Come recognised that the institution was operating “at its financial limit”.“The transfers were to regularise the payments of the salary of a national director, which were delayed”, he said.As for the unused flat, Come said the idea had been to use it to accommodate a team of Brazilian technicians who would come to Mozambique to install a new computer system. The CPD, he added, was developing a partnership with a Brazilian computer company. That company was supposed o pay for the air tickets and accommodation of the Brazilian team.But the team never turned up, and the rent had already been paid for five years. “This is a risk you run in business of this kind”, claimed Come.As for using CPD money to pay his relatives’ school fees, Come said his secretary had taken the decision to pay the fees when he was out of the country. He had agreed, and the money was subsequently reimbursed, by monthly discounts of 5,000 meticais from his salary.As for the car, supposedly belonging to his daughter, Come claimed that at the time his daughter had been too young to drive. The car in question, he said, belonged to the company Express Rent-a-Car. The CPD had hired it and it suffered an accident. Come admitted he had not seen the damaged car, and just signed a cheque for the repairs. Come admitted that he had issued a cheque for 80,000 meticais, drawn on CPD funds, in the name of his elder brother, without consulting the CPD Board. He claimed that subsequently the money had been reimbursed.Come was arrested on 6 January 2009, on the orders of the Maputo City branch of the public prosecutor’s office. He was held in a Maputo jail for 19 months, until the Supreme Court in August ordered his release on bail of 410,000 meticais.The trial was interrupted by a power cut, before the Court could take evidence from Manuel Vilankulos. It will resume on Thursday.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


The Irish-based company Kenmare Resources on Tuesday reported that it has resumed mining at the Moma Titanium Minerals Mine in the northern Mozambican province of Nampula. Mining was suspended following a disastrous breach of a settling pond on 8 October. When the wall of the pond collapsed a flood hit the nearby village of Topuito, killing a child and damaging 388 houses.According to Kenmare, the design of the settling pond has now been improved and the Department of Public Works has reviewed the conditions at the mine.Kenmare reports that 336 houses have now been restored and 25 traditional homes are being rebuilt. Repair work is continuing on the other houses.Kenmare has set up a compensation committee to work with representatives from the Government, local administration and village leaders to value property destroyed in the flood.During the month long interruption to mining, the minerals separation plant continued working on a stockpile of heavy mineral concentrate. The stockpile of concentrate will now be built up again.The main product of the Moma mine is Ilmenite (iron titanium oxide), from which titanium dioxide, a base pigment in the paint paper and plastics industries is produced. Smaller amounts of rutile (the most common natural form of titanium dioxide) and of zircon (zirconium silicate) are also produced at Moma.


Mozambican President Armando Guebuza declared on Monday at the end of a two day visit to Qatar that business cooperation between the two countries will be strengthened following the interest expressed by Qatari businesses to invest in various areas of development in Mozambique.This visit aimed at strengthening the political and diplomatic relations between Mozambique and Qatar and to find ways to attract more investment.Guebuza told the reporters who accompanied him that Qatar should soon send specialized missions to address specific aspects and from there explore the possibility of investing in Mozambique.“The businessmen expressed interest in the area of food production which interests us a lot so that we are able to export some agricultural produce to Qatar”, said Guebuza.He was also interested in cooperation with Qatar in the area of natural gas, where this Gulf country is a world leader. Qatar is the main producer of liquefied natural gas in the world, with an annual production estimated at 77 million tons.Tourism was, according to the President, a further area of interest. However, despite the strong will demonstrated, there is still nothing concrete in terms of amounts that should be invested because the would-be Qatari investors first need to know more about Mozambique.Besides the aspects related to economic cooperation with Qatar, as stated in the various meetings Guebuza held with influential personalities such as Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khallifa Al-Thani and other members of the Qatari executive, Guebuza met with about 400 Mozambicans living in this Gulf state.These are the households of 99 Mozambican engineers and other skilled workers, many of whom were trained at the Mozal aluminium smelter, and later moved to the Gulf in search of higher wages and better living conditions.Unlike Mozambican miners in South Africa, who are protected by law through the agreements signed during the colonial period, these citizens ventured on a personal basis and their departure is something of a setback to Mozambique, which is desperately short of skilled labour.Guebuza said that Mozambican citizens are free to choose where to work and the state cannot stop them. What the state can and will do is create conditions so that more skilled Mozambicans can be employed in their own country.He thought that with modern factories such as Mozal and other emerging industries, Mozambicans with industrial skills will have space to work inside the country, if they so wish.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Candida Cossa, a businesswoman accused of involvement in the murder, in November 2000, of Mozambique’s top investigative journalist, Carlos Cardoso, died in Maputo, from an unspecified illness, on Thursday.And with her has died the so-called “autonomous case” – the separate, second file on the Cardoso assassination, opened during the first trial, which lasted from November 2002 to January 2003.The main suspect in the “autonomous case” was Nyimpine Chissano, the oldest son of former President Joaquim Chissano, who died of a heart attack in November 2007. Yet the case staggered fitfully on, with judge Dimas Marroa taking evidence from Cossa and others in September. But since dead people cannot stand trial, the case is now over – a monument to the lethargy and incompetence that is so damaging to the Mozambican legal system.The first trial found six people guilty of the murder. Judge Augusto Paulino found that three business figures – former bank manager Vicente Ramaya, loan shark Momad Assife Abdul Satar (“Nini”), and his brother Ayob Abdul Satar, owner of the Unicambion foreign exchange bureau – had ordered the murder. They hired a man described by Paulino as “an habitual delinquent”, car thief Anibal dos Santos Junior (“Anibalzinho”), to organise a death squad. He recruited Carlitos Rachid, a deserter from the army, who fired the shots that killed Cardoso, and Manuel Fernandes, who was the lookout. Anibalzinho himself drove the car used in the murder. For the prosecution, the motive for the assassination was clear. Ramaya and the Abdul Satar family were at the heart of a huge bank fraud through which the equivalent of 14 million US dollars was siphoned out of Ramaya’s branch of the country’s largest bank, the BCM, on thee eve of its privatization in 1996.Cardoso investigated the fraud tenaciously, naming those involved in his paper, the daily newsheet “Metical”. He demanded that the Mozambican prosecution service take the case seriously and bring those involved to justice. Cardoso’s writings were certainly part of the reason why the then Attorney-General, Antonio Namburete, and all six assistant attorney-generals, were sacked in mid-2000, depriving Ramaya and the Satars of the shield they had previously enjoyed. It was at this point that the conspirators decided that Cardoso was too dangerous to remain alive.But Nini Satar had an alternative story. During the trial, he admitted paying Anibalzinho for the assassination – but claimed that the money was actually a loan to Nyimpine Chissano. Satar said that Chissano asked for a loan of 1.2 billion old meticais (about 50,000 US dollars at the exchange rate of the time), but stipulated that the money must be paid to Anibalzinho. Satar said he had no idea the money was for a contract killing.He said Chissano repaid with a series of post-dated cheques. Oddly enough, Satar had never cashed these cheques, and in court he produced seven cheques signed by Chissano, on an account of his company Expresso Tours, totalling 1.29 billion meticais (the initial loan, plus what Satar called his “commission”).The cheques certainly proved that there were dealings between Satar and Chissano, but it was a large leap from that to the assumption that the money paid for the killing.Candida Cossa entered the story, because Satar had told the chief investigator, Antonio Frangoulis, that he had attended conspiratorial meetings with Chissano and his business partner Apolinario Pateguana at Cossa’s house. Later Satar denied this version and claimed he had only heard about meetings in Candida Cossa’s house from Anibalzinho.These claims were serious enough for Paulino to call both Chissano and Cossa to the witness stand. Both cut miserable figures. Chissano denied borrowing any money from Satar, and claimed the postdated cheques were guarantees of repayment of a loan, not from Satar, but from Cossa. Cossa had then allegedly “negotiated” the cheques with Unicambios. The only meetings at Cossa’s house, he said, were social gatherings, and neither Satar nor Anibalzinho had been present.Cossa herself gave a completely different story. She said she was seriously in debt (to the tune of 130,000 dollars) to Nini Satar, who sent men round to threaten her. She then appealed to Chissano and Pateguana for help, and they assured Satar that Cossa would soon have the money to redeem the debt.Complex financial transactions followed, in which further debts, this time amounting to 1.29 billion meticais, were contracted from Satar. Cossa’s testimony was highly damaging to Chissano since it painted a picture of regular contacts between Expresso Tours and Nini Satar, a man with whom Chissano denied doing any business. The waters were muddied because Cossa changed her evidence in the middle of the trial. She started testifying on 6 December 2002, a Friday, Paulino adjourned proceedings over the weekend, and on Monday 9 December she suddenly recalled that she had personally taken the seven mysterious cheques round to Satar, thus providing a neat explanation for how the cheques fell into Satar’s hands.Then the “autonomous case” was opened, and in January prosecutors spoke to Cossa, whereupon she performed a volte-face. The minutes of this meeting showed that Cossa had committed perjury. She changed her story, because Chissano had asked her to. She agreed to lie for him in December, but in January she admitted she knew nothing about the cheques presented by Satar, and had no idea what business they referred to. Given radically different versions – from Satar, Chissano and Cossa – about the cheques, it made sense for prosecutors to try and unravel the truth and see if Chissano did indeed have anything to do with the Cardoso murder.But the case stalled. No new evidence was forthcoming, but the prosecutors dealing with the matter failed either to move to a trial or to shelve the case for lack of proof. Other cases linked with the murder went ahead. Thus in December 2005, Anibalzinho received his second trial. At the first trial he was absent, since he had escaped from prison in September 2002. He was re-arrested in South Africa, and the Supreme Court granted him a retrial. During his testimony, Anibalzinho thrust all the blame for the murder onto the shoulders of Ramaya and the Satars, and denied any contact with Nyimpine Chissano.In April 2008 Anibalzinho was back in court, this time accused of involvement in the attempted murder in 1999 of Albano Silva, lawyer for the BCM. By this time Nyimpine Chissano was dead, and Anibalzinho’s story changed accordingly. Now he claimed that Cardoso’s murder had been ordered by Chissano at meetings held, not at the home of Candida Cossa, but in Nini Satar’s house.The case against Chissano thus boiled down to seven postdated cheques, and the word of a man who changed his evidence from one trial to the next. For the last five years of his life the case hung over Nyimpine Chissano. He was never given the chance of a formal trial at which he could have tried to clear his name. And the Mozambican public was never allowed to hear whether there was anything more substantial in the charges against Chissano than the contradictory claims of two convicted killers.Candida Cossa died just a fortnight short of the tenth anniversary of Cardoso’s assassination, and almost eight years after the “autonomous case” was opened. Eight years in which the prosecution services did virtually nothing to prove or disprove the accusations. Instead of doing their job, they preferred to while away the time until the suspects both died.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


The British High Commissioner in Maputo, Shaun Cleary, has encouraged more British companies to invest in Mozambique to create jobs and support the communities in which they will be embedded.Cleary expressed this desire during a working visit this week to the tantalum mines in Marropino, in the central province of Zambezia, which are operated by the British company Noventa.Cleary said that the work of the Noventa mining concession serves as an example for more British companies to invest in Zambezia, according to a press release from the British High Commission.According to the release, the chairperson of Noventa, Eric Kohn, explained to Cleary the efforts undertaken in order to overcome possible obstacles and make the mine a profitable enterprise in the long run.The mine reopened in April after production was stopped for about a year and a half. Noventa has been focusing its attention on the search for more reserves of tantalum, as well as increasing the capacity to process ore at Marropino.Noventa says it has invested over 65 million US dollars in Marropino, to establish the only industrial scale tantalum mine in operation in MozambiqueSpeaking during a meeting with the representatives of the Zambezia provincial government, the High Commissioner reiterated the importance of bilateral cooperation between Mozambique and the United Kingdom and the British commitment to fighting poverty in Mozambique.Cleary noted that in the past years, there has been a growing trend of British companies in Mozambique, such as BP, G4S, British American Tobacco and Rio Tinto, which have investments in agriculture, security biofuels, sugar production, tourism, mining, and energy.“We therefore encourage the growth of trade and investment, because it's good for both the UK and Mozambique”, said Cleary.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


There is no significant danger to either the environment or to human health from the “bypass” planned by the Mozal aluminium smelter, Mozambican Environment Minister Alcinda Abreu told reporters on Tuesday.Mozal on Monday began to rebuild its two Fume Treatment Centres (FTCs), which form part of the carbon plant where the anodes for the electrolytic furnaces are baked. The steel at the base of the FTCs has become dangerously corroded, and Mozal warns that, unless the FTCs are replaced there is a danger that the buildings will collapse.The rebuild is scheduled to take 137 days, and during part of this period the “baghouse” which filters gas, dust and tars from the carbon plant must be bypassed – the emissions will not go through the filters, but will be expelled directly into the atmosphere via a tall chimney.The bypass has been the subject of wild disinformation in parts of the Mozambican press with claims that Mozal will “execute” the population of the city of Matola.Abreu, however, pointed out that her Ministry only issued the licence that allows Mozal to rebuild the FTCs after studies had shown that the bypass poses no significant environmental threat.The Ministry had commissioned studies from scientists at Maputo’s Eduardo Mondlane University, and Mozal itself had contracted independent environmental consultants. All of their studies indicated that the bypass will not be a dangerous operation.Mozal admits that while the FTC filters are not operating, there will be an increase in emissions – but these will still be within the legal limits, and will still meet the standards set by the World Health Organisation (WHO).Speaking after a meeting of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet), Abreu asked the reporters “Do you really think we would endanger the health of our people?”She pointed out that Mozal workers live in Matola, and so do several members of the government and their families. “Do you think we are suicidal?”, she asked.The bypass was to have begun on Monday, but Mozal postponed it to allow further consultation with interested parties. However, there is a limit to how far rebuilding the FTCs can progress without the bypass.

Monday, November 1, 2010


The president of the Mozambican Association for the Fight against Cancer, Patricia da Silva said on Sunday in Maputo that Mozambique is suffering from a high rate of breast cancer.Da Silva spoke to AIM after a march of women through the streets of central Maputo, held to alert society to the problem of breast cancer.“I do not have a total number for cases of breast cancer for the country, but Maputo Central Hospital (HCM) registers about 10 new cases per month, which is a lot”, warned da Silva. “We recorded 240 cases in 2008/2009 and this is a very high incidence rate. Were we to compile cases of breast cancer for the entire country it might double that number”.She urged women to check their bodies to find anomalies that may indicate breast cancer, to allow early treatment.“We want this campaign to alert and draw the attention of all women to take care of themselves”, da Silva stressed. “If they spot an anomaly in their bodies they should seek medical help, by going to health centres in order to be examined to assess whether they have cancer”.Breast cancer is a malign tumor most commonly fund in when over the age of 40. The disease is characterized by the appearance of a lump in the breast as a result of abnormal proliferation of cells that leads to the development of a tumor.However, not all lumps and nodules that appear in breasts are cancers. In some cases they are only small cysts and are benign.