Wednesday, February 27, 2013


The Mozambican riot police (FIR) on Tuesday morning used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon to disperse a demonstration by a group of demobilised soldiers in central Maputo.This was the first time water cannon have been used on the streets of any Mozambican city. In September 2010, when rioting broke out in Maputo over price rises, the police were severely criticized for not using non-lethal methods such as water cannon, and resorting to live ammunition instead.But there was no riot on Tuesday. Instead the police struck to prevent members of the Forum of Demobilised Soldiers, led by Herminio dos Santos, from gathering at the Antonio Repinga athletics circuit, near the office of Prime Minister Alberto Vaquina.The Forum has held sporadic demonstrations here, the last one on 12 February, demanding an increase in pensions paid to demobilised troops. The current demand is for a pension of 20,000 meticais (about 664 US dollars) a month.This sum is more than three times higher than the largest of the current statutory minimum wages. The monthly minimum wages in force since April last year range from 2,300 meticais for agricultural workers to 6,171 meticais for workers in financial services. It is not clear how many people, the Forum gathered on Tuesday. Judging from the TV footage of the clashes it was considerably fewer than the several hundred who demonstrated ion 12 February. According to a report in the independent newsheet “Mediafax”, former agents of the state intelligence service, SISE, who are also demanding higher pensions, joined the demonstration.The Forum chooses Tuesdays for its demonstrations since this is the day of the weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet) at Vaquina’s office. The police version of events is that they charged the demonstrators when they tried to break through a security cordon barring access to the Antonio Ripinga circuit. The police operation lasted for about half an hour, and was not restricted to the immediate area of the Antonio Ripinga circuit. The police chased demonstrators onto the main thoroughfare in downtown Maputo, 25 September Avenue. Ordinary passers-by and informal traders were also caught up in the violence, suffering the effects of the tear gas and the water cannon.So were journalists. Police ordered reporters to move “because we want to work”. The reporters stayed, of course, and so TV cameras were also hit by jets from the water cannon.The demonstration was organised by the Forum’s spokesperson, Constantino Wiliamo, since the movements of Herminio dos Santos are restricted since his arrest on 13 February. Wiliamo’s whereabouts are unknown, but dos Santos, contacted by telephone, told reporters that he had been detained. “We don’t know what police station he’s in”, said dos Santos.  Asked about the clashes as he was leaving the Tuesday meeting of the Council of Ministers, the Deputy Interior Minister Jose Mandra defended the police action, on the grounds that it was necessary to maintain public order. The Forum had not communicated to the authorities its intention to demonstrate, as the law requires.Furthermore, the Forum was knocking on the wrong door. Mandra said that any complaints from demobilised troops should be addressed to the Ministry of Veterans’ Affairs. He added that the demand for a monthly pension of 20,000 meticais was way beyond the budgetary capacities of the Mozambican state.“The government is sovereign and doesn’t need to be pressured to act”, said Mandra. “The demobilised should just comply with the law”.


The Mozambican government has announced that the municipal elections scheduled for this year will be held on 20 November. Announcing the decision on Tuesday, at the end of a meeting of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet), Fisheries Minister Victor Borges, added that voter registration will take place in all 43 municipalities from 25 May to 23 July.This will be a completely new registration and the existing voter registers and cards will cease to be valid. Everyone who wishes to vote will have to register again, regardless of whether they were registered for the 2008 municipal elections or the 2009 general elections.In the 20 November elections, the voters in each municipality will elect a mayor and a municipal assembly. The Electoral Administration Technical Secretariat (STAE), the electoral branch of the civil service, says it has already begun preparing for the municipal elections. The state budget for this year allocates 850 million meticais (about 28.3 million US dollars) for the local elections. According to STAE General Director Felisberto Naife, this will be enough to cover voter registration, the training of electoral staff, the production of the ballot papers and other electoral materials, and everything else required for successful elections.The main snag is that the body that supervises the elections, the National Elections Commission (CNE), has not yet been formed. Under new electoral legislation passed by the Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, in December, the CNE consists of eight political party appointees, a judge, an attorney and three appointees from civil society organisations.The political party appointees will be chosen by the three parliamentary groups – five from the ruling Frelimo Party, two from the former rebel movement Renamo and one from the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM). They will only be chosen at the next sitting of the Assembly, due to begin in mid-March.As for the members from civil society, the law states that civil society bodies may propose candidates for the CNE to an ad-hoc commission set up by the Assembly. From the names proposed, the ad-hoc commission will draw up a short list of between 12 and 16 names that will be submitted to the Assembly plenary. A secret ballot vote in the plenary will choose the three CNE members, while the three runners-up become supplementary members who will take over if any of the full members dies, resigns or is incapacitated.The judge will be appointed by the Higher Council of the Judicial Magistracy, and the attorney by the Higher Council of the Public Prosecutor’s Office.Renamo is threatening to boycott the elections, just as it boycotted the mayoral by-elections held in December 2011 in Quelimane, Pemba and Cuamba, and in April 2012 in Inhambane.If Renamo implements this threat, the elections will become a two horse race between Frelimo and the MDM. Currently, there are two MDM mayors, in Beira and Quelimane, while Frelimo controls the other 41 municipalities.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Three News

The Prime Minister of Mozambique, Alberto Vaquina, has just appointed a commission of inquiry to Mozambique Television (TVM), Mozambique News Agency (AIM) and Radio Mozambique (RM) in the monitoring visits to these Agencies Public sector information at the beginning of this year. In a press release, the PM's office stated that the inquiry is based on the terms of the General Statute of Employees and Agents of Estado.A committee consists of five members including Peter Biche, Inspector General of the Ministry of State Administration (chief commission), Elizabeth Mchola, Director of Information and Communication in the Information Office (GABINFO) - Deputy head of the Commission. Are also part of the committee Pantie-Maurice National Deputy Director of Management Human Resources Strategy of State in the Ministry of Public Service; Jorge Marcelino, Advisor to the Minister of Finance and Hilary Cuckoo, Lawyer of the Information Office (GABINFO). In the same order, Vaquina determines that the Inquiry Committee shall submit the report within 30 days, counted from the beginning of the process. The inquest at three Public Enterprises launches next February 26.
The chairman of the lawyers of Mozambique believes that partnerships with local offices Portuguese are "a disguise" the illegal practice of law in Mozambique, noting the practice as "a major challenge" of the Order. Gilberto Correia, who will leave the leadership of the Bar Association of Mozambique (OAM) states, in editorial Newsletter OAM, who, under the guise of cooperation agreements with local law firms, lawyers Portuguese settled in Mozambique to perform illegally activity. "Several times, under the guise of training, knowledge transfer, management of the partnership, harmonization computing, among others, some Portuguese lawyers are installed in the offices of the alleged partners in Maputo, where they practice in a more or less disguised themselves acts of profession of attorney in favor of third parties - clients here in Mozambique, "says Gilberto Correia.
Investigations into the massive thefts uncovered in the Mozambican Ministry of Education suggest that the fraudulent scheme must also have involved staff of the public accounts department of the Finance Ministry, according to a report in Friday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”The investigations undertaken by the Central Office for the Fight against Corruption (GCCC) are also looking at the public accounts department, since no Ministry can pay wages without that department authorizing the payment. So somebody in public accounts must have checked the wages sheets that the Education Ministry sent for authorisation every month. In other words, officials in the financial department of the Education Ministry could not have committed the fraud on their own.  The fraud took the form of submitting a duplicate, fictitious wages sheet in addition to the real one. The money was then transferred to bank accounts controlled by those who were running the fraud. It is unclear how many staff in the public accounts department were involved in the fraud – this is one of the matters still under investigation.It is far from clear exactly how much money went missing. The initial denunciation, in an anonymous letter sent to the media, was that two million meticais (about 66,500 US dollars, at current exchange rates) was siphoned out of the Ministry’s coffers every month.On Tuesday, Education Minister Augusto Jone told reporters that the fraud had begun in 2006, and involved around 144 million meticais. But on Wednesday Ministry spokesperson Eurico Banze, addressing a press conference, put the amount stolen in 2012 alone at just five million meticais.A key figure in the scheme is a man named Sende, who was responsible for drawing up the monthly wages sheets, and for coordinating with the public accounts department and with the Ministry’s bank.When the fraud was discovered in December, Sende vanished from sight. Although there were reports earlier this week that he had reappeared, the “Noticias” story insists that he remains a fugitive.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

“There are signs of racism”

Mozambique’s Minister of Tourism, Carvalho Muaria, on Monday warned tourism operators that he will be implacable in taking measures to end abuses that occur in this area. At a meeting with operators from Maputo city and province, Muaria said that, over the past few months, he has visited over 100 tourist establishments, not as a minister, but as a citizen, and had noted a series of irregularities, including instances of racism, that should be immediately corrected. The Minister said he was concerned to find that children under the age of 18 were buying alcohol and cigarettes in tourist establishments, and that the managers were allowing minors to attend night clubs. “There is a trend not to comply with the rules established in the country”, he said. “You go into a restaurant and you don’t see the list of workers with their health cards. In hotels and restaurants you don’t see the list of prices, though it is a legal obligation to display the prices. In these places there are no signs saying that it is forbidden to serve alcohol and tobacco to minors”. “There are signs of racism”, Muaria added. “There is preferential service for some people to the detriment of others. I ask myself why is it that when somebody with a lighter skin comes in, this person is served ahead of me, although I arrived first. Is it because I am black?” Some restaurants flagrantly defy the law on smoking. In general smoking is not permitted in bars and restaurants, but there can be a separate area for smokers, provided it has its own ventilation.  Muaria said he had gone into a restaurant on Julius Nyerere Avenue, in central Maputo, “and I was told there was no area for non-smokers, and if I didn’t like it, I could leave and never come back again”. He had also found restaurants that did not sell Mozambican products. “I went into one restaurant and one of the workers told me there was no Mozambican mineral water because nobody drinks it. They didn’t even have Mozambican beer on sale”. “I ask – who is killing Mozambican industry?”, said Muaria. “When we don’t prefer national products, we are damaging national industry. That’s not what we expect when we open our doors to foreigners. We are not saying you shouldn’t import products, but you should show preference for Mozambican goods”.  Muaria said these anomalies would not be tolerated, and he warned of tough measures against tourist operators who continued to break Mozambican laws. The operators present at the meeting recognised the concerns expressed by the Minister and called for more active inspection by the Ministry. The chairperson of the Mozambican Federation of Hotels and Tourism (FEMATUR), Quessanias Matlombe, said the problem lay in the weakness of the institutions which should ensure compliance with the law. “All that the Minister said is true”, Matlombe admitted, “and we thank him for the frontal way he has posed the questions. The problem is that when there are rules, but nobody ensures compliance with them, then people do whatever they like. The state institutions which should ensure that the law is respected do not do their job, and that’s where the weakness is”. “What is happening in our industry is that for years the authorities took no measures and each operator imposed his own rules”, he added. When abuses were reported in the press, “nothing happens”. Manuel Cabinda, who runs an establishment in the southernmost district of Matutuine, tried to evade responsibility for selling alcohol and cigarettes to minors. He blamed the parents instead. “The great problem is that often the parents allow their children to go to night clubs. They send their children out to buy alcoholic drinks and tobacco, and at the end of the day only the operator is penalized”, he said. “We ask that these parents should also be punished. Society should be educated to have a preventive attitude and to comply with the law”.  Among other questions posed by the businessmen were the poor roads that make it difficult for clients to reach some tourist establishments, the poor quality of electricity supply in parts of Maputo province, the proliferation of heaps of garbage in Maputo city, and the behaviour of the police in extorting money from foreign tourists. 


Over the past five years the South African authorities have killed 279 Mozambicans involved in the illegal hunting of rhinoceros, according to figures published on Tuesday by the independent daily “O Pais”. A further 300 Mozambicans were detained for rhino poaching between 2008 and the end of 2012, the paper added, citing official Mozambican and South African sources.The numbers show that 48 Mozambican poachers were killed in 2008, 62 in 2009, 48 in 2010, 71 in 2011 and 52 in 2012. So far this year (up to 11 February) a further eight Mozambican poachers were shot dead.The number of Mozambicans detained by the South African forces rose from 10 in 2008, to 22 in 2009, 35 in 2010, 101 in 2011 and 132 in 2012. In 2011 and 2012, the total number of poachers detained, of all nationalities, was 478 – so Mozambicans accounted for almost 50 per cent of all poachers arrested in those two years.But the number of South African rhinos killed by the poaching gangs has continued to rise alarmingly, from 13 in 2007, to 83 in 2008, 122 in 2009, 333 in 2010, 448 on 2011 and 588 in 2012. At this pace, rhinos are threatened with extinction.For the Mozambican government the most worrying aspect is the involvement of members of the defence and security forces in the slaughter of rhinos. One of the Mozambicans shot dead, Gerson Chauque, was a member of the Frontier Guard. Another Frontier Guard turned poacher, Bento Pequenino, was shot in the abdomen on 22 November 2011, and is currently under detention in South Africa.The most recent shoot-out was on 11 February, when South African forces clashed with a group of eight Mozambican poachers in the Kruger Park and shot seven of them dead. The one who survived, named only as Sergio, is currently under medical care at the Massingir District Hospital in Gaza province. He is a member of the Mozambique Armed Forces (FADM).Another of the dead Mozambican poachers, Silva Ngovene, used a Mauser 458 gun in his poaching forays. At one point the Frontier Guard captured this gun from a group of poachers on the Mozambican side of the border, and deposited it in the Massingir District Police Command. Yet this gun was taken from the command in mid-November last year, and ended up in the hands of a poacher known as Vembane, who was killed by South African troops in the Kruger Park on 8 January.According to “O Pais”, it was the head of operations in the district command who gave the gun to Vembane and to a certain Mahetabanha, a self-proclaimed “prophet”, who “blessed” poachers so that they would not be killed or imprisoned. No doubt Vembane was well known to the Massingir police because he worked in a Massingir bakery, just a few metres from the police command.“O Pais” also claims that one of the Frontier Guard commanders who did fight against the poaching rings, Fernando Manjate, has recently been relieved of his duties, along with his entire investigating team. The paper adds that the national commander of the Frontier Guard has declined to speak to its reporters.The poaching is driven by demand for rhino horn in Asia, particularly Vietnam and China, where prices can reach 65,000 US dollars for a kilo of horn. This means that rhino horn is now more valuable than gold – an ounce of gold sells for about 1,609 dollars, while an ounce of rhino horn is worth over 1,840 dollars.Such extraordinary sums are paid because charlatans, peddling what they call “traditional Chinese medicine”, claim that rhino horns will cure everything from demonic possession to cancer. In fact, rhino horns are made of keratin, the same protein found in hair, nails and scales throughout the animal kingdom, including human hair and fingernails. If rhino horn can cure cancer, then so can biting your fingernails.


The area of low pressure in the centre of the Mozambique Channel has intensified and is now regarded as a cyclone. However, it is moving away from Mozambique and towards Madagascar. It is thus unlikely to worsen matters in flooded Mozambican river valleys. The cyclone, so far known just as “16S”, was about halfway between the Mozambican and Madagascan coasts at midnight on Monday. According to the projection made by the US Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Centre, the cyclone is moving slowly in a south-easterly direction, and will make landfall in southern Madagascar late on Thursday. In Mozambique, moderate to heavy rainfall continued on Monday in the northern provinces of Cabo Delgado and Nampula, and the central province of Zambezia. According to the National Meteorology Institute (INAM), more of the same is forecast for the next five days. Heavy rains are also forecast for parts of Zambia and Malawi. Much of the rain falling in these countries is likely to swell the Zambezi River, and its major tributaries such as the Chire and the Revobue.      The lower Zambezi remains above flood alert level all the way from Mutarara, in Tete province, to the river delta. However, a major flood on the Zambezi has been avoided because most of the water flowing down the Zambezi from Zambia and Zimbabwe is being held back by the Cahora Bassa dam. On Monday, the dam reservoir was 67 per cent full. The reservoir was receiving 4,900 cubic metres of water a second from the upstream countries, but the dam was only releasing 1,800 cubic metres a second. The country’s relief agency has now given a breakdown of the 113 known deaths since the start of the rainy season in October. 48 people were swept away by the currents or drowned while trying to cross swollen rivers. 34 people were struck by lightning. 12 victims were killed when houses collapsed on top of them. Nine people were electrocuted by live cables knocked down by storms. Four people died when boats overturned, one person drowned in a well, one was attacked by a crocodile, and the causes of the remaining four deaths are classified as unknown. By far the worst hit province is Gaza, with 42 deaths, caused mostly by the flood on the Limpopo river. There were 24 deaths in Zambezia and 19 in Nampula. Deaths in the other provinces were all in single figures, except for Inhambane, where no deaths at all were recorded.


The Brazilian mining company Vale has declared a situation of “force majeure” in Mozambique’s Tete province, making it impossible to honour its coal export contracts. A Vale press release issued on Tuesday said that the party was contacting its various clients informing them that the torrential rains in central Mozambique have made it impossible to send coal trains from its mine in Moatize district to the port of Beira.n The heavy rains since the beginning of February “have created operational difficulties for the Sena railway line, with an impact on the transport of coal”, said the release. So far the amount of coking coal that Vale has been unable to send to Beira amounts to around quarter of a million tonnes. The owner of the line, the Mozambican port and rail company CFM, “is taking all the necessary measures to re-establish rail traffic, and the situation should be normalized by the end of the month”, the company says. The interruption to traffic began on 11 February, because flooding on the Zambezi river has washed away ballast on part of the line between the Messito and Doa rail stations in Tete. This was a blow to both the major mining concerns that depend on the Sena line, Vale and Rio Tinto. Normally there is an average of 12 trains a day along the line. The interruption of rail traffic demonstrates how fragile the mining logistics are. In theory, the Sena line, after upgrading that is currently under way, should be able to handle over six million tonnes of cargo a year, but the mining companies’ forecasts are for exports on a much larger scale. Vale hopes to free itself from dependence on the Sena line by building a new railway across southern Malawi that will connect with Mozambique’s existing northern line, and carry the coal to the port of Nacala

Mozambique loses a fortune to illegal timber exports

 Weak forest governance and corruption in Mozambique are facilitating illegal logging and timber smuggling to supply China’s voracious demand, costing the fourth least developed country in the world tens of millions in lost taxes annually.
The new report First Class Connections: Log Smuggling, Illegal Logging and Corruption in Mozambique by the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) exposes massive discrepancies in import/export data between Mozambique and China, indicating that half the timber flowing into China is illegal.
Compiling evidence from research and undercover operations in both countries, the report features detailed investigative case studies into some of the biggest companies engineering these crimes in Mozambique today, exposing both the smuggling techniques used and the political patronage and corruption that facilitate them.
EIA forests campaigner Chris Moye said: “Despite recent commendable efforts by the Mozambican Government to control the illegal trade in timber to China, our investigation uncovers how high-level politicians, in league with unscrupulous Chinese traders, continue to not only breach Mozambique’s export and forest laws but are now putting pressure on the sustainable yield of Mozambique’s forests”.
Mozambique’s timber trade reveals major trade data discrepancies revealing that in 2012 Chinese companies imported between 189,615 and 215,654 cubic metres of timber that had been illegally exported from Mozambique – comprising a staggering 48 per cent of China’s imports from the country.
China’s 2012 imports from Mozambique dwarf not only licensed exports, but also exceed the licensed harvest by 154,030 cubic metres, generating an alarming 48 per cent illegal logging rate.
Furthermore, the United Nations ranks Mozambique as the fourth least developed country in the world. Against the background of Mozambique’s poverty, EIA estimates that about US$ US$29,172,350 in avoided tax may have been lost to State revenues in 2012 from unlicensed exports to China worth US$130,834,350.
In comparison, the estimated financing need for Mozambique’s National Forest Program’s law enforcement system for 2006-10 was US$1,051,470, while total zoning and detailed inventory costs for the same period were estimated at US$10,716,911. These costs could be covered almost three times over by the lost revenues.
Among the report’s recommendations, EIA urges the Government of Mozambique to:
• Institute an immediate log-export ban of all timber species;
• Initiate a joint investigation with China into the illegal timber trade;
• Institute a wide-ranging investigation into forest sector corruption, including the involvement of police, customs and forest officials;
• Investigate illegal exports of unprocessed timber by companies named in the report.

EIA further calls on the Government of China to:
• Prohibit the import of illegal timber into China;
• Liaise with Mozambique on its timber export laws, and coordinate with them on imports into China;
• Ensure State-owned companies are not exporting illegal timber from Mozambique, nor importing it into China.

Interviews, footage and images are available on request: please contact Chris Moye at or telephone 020 7354 7960.
1. The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) is a UK-based Non Governmental Organisation and charitable trust (registered charity number 1145359) that investigates and campaigns against a wide range of environmental crimes, including illegal wildlife trade, illegal logging, hazardous waste, and trade in climate and ozone-altering chemicals.
2. Read & download First Class Connections here.
Environmental Investigation Agency
62-63 Upper Street
London N1 0NY
Tel: +44 207 354 7960

Friday, February 8, 2013

Dynamics of elections in Sofala

A few months ago, STAE published on its website1 the  results of the 2009 elections up to district level. This  happened more that 2 years after the elections and is  thus inexplicably late, given the fact that the transformation of the results databases in STAE to a publishable format is not an extremely complex endeavour. In  previous electoral cycles it also took unnecessarily  long to publish detailed results. It is a very welcome innovation that the STAE website now gives access to results from all elections (general  and municipal) since 1994. This simply did not exist  before. The 1994 results were, like all subsequent  election results, published in the official gazette  (Boletim da República), but the detail never goes  below the provincial level for general elections  (President and Parliament) and aggregated results for the municipal elections. Yet, for the 1994 elections  there was a hard copy publication of the results 2 up to  the level of each polling station (mesa). This publication must still be available in some libraries (public or  private), but it is certainly hard to get to and a printed  set of results is just not friendly for analysis. The 1999  and 2004 results were published on a CD-Rom. For  1999 the lowest level of detail is not the individual  polling table, but the aggregation per polling location  (typically the aggregated results of all the polling stations in one school). The 2004 results are the most  complete in electronic format as they disaggregate up  to polling station level. For 2009 this was not continued. The results are published up to district level,  which omits a lot of detail. Per district the result sheets  repeat multiple times the name of one party  (legislative) or candidate (presidential), but it is not  clear what level of aggregation each sub-result has. If  one wants to know how many votes, or what percentage of the votes a party/candidate obtained in a certain  district one needs to manually add up the different  imputations for each. The fact that there is no consistency in how the results  are presented over the various electoral processes  complicates analysis of the data that identifies and  explains trends in voting behaviour. The analysis of  election results over time remains a very labour intensive, artisanal job that on its turn is subject to mistakes. This is also due to the fact that results are only  in pdf format and can thus not be “worked” directly for  quantitative analysis. Read HERE.

Friday, February 1, 2013


The Medical Faculty of Maputo’s Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM) has told those medical students who joined the nine day doctors’ strike, organised by the Mozambican Medical Association (AMM) in January, that they have failed part of their course and will have to take it again.According to a report in Friday’s issue of the independent newsheet “Mediafax”, the faculty took the decision on Tuesday, and it was communicated to the students in question as from Wednesday.The decision concerns those sixth year medical students who work as apprentices at Maputo Central Hospital, during the practical part of their course. All those who failed to show up during the strike are now deemed to have failed that part of the course, and must repeat it. It is not clear how many students this affects.The faculty also praises those students who did not join the strike, and says it will issue them with certificates in recognition of their “selflessness” and “sacrifice”.The faculty’s move to punish the strikers seems to be a flagrant violation of the agreement between the AMM and the government, signed on 15 January, which ended the strike. Part of this deal was that the Ministry would send a circular to all public sector health units giving instructions that no administrative measures were to be taken against those doctors and student doctors who did not present themselves for work during the strike. The Medical Faculty, however, might argue that it is not covered by the agreement, since it is not subordinate to the Health Ministry, but to the University.The disciplinary measure is an embarrassment to Health Minister Alexandre Manguele who had pledged that the strikers would face no reprisals. 
There has, as yet, been no response from the AMM.


Mozambique’s Attorney-General, Augusto Paulino, has launched a stinging attack on those judges, prosecutors and lawyers who “act in the service of criminals”.Speaking at a Maputo ceremony where 18 new district attorneys were sworn into office, Paulino warned them that during the course of their work “you will meet some colleagues, fortunately not many of them, among prosecutors, judges and lawyers who are genuine servants of organised crime”.Criminals, he continued, take careless or vulnerable judges, prosecutors and lawyers “and turn them into their puppets”.There were judges who feared to risk their lives over cases that landed on their desks. Some judges refused to set dates for cases that were ready for trial, in the hope that the passage of time would dispose of them. Others delayed in handing cases back to the Public Prosecutor’s Office to complete the investigation – even though they have the legal prerogative to order the final phases of investigation themselves.There were also case files “which disappear with the connivance of judges, prosecutors, lawyers, and court officials. This obliges us to reconstruct systematically particular cases, with the resulting loss of time, since inquiries must be held to ascertain the causes and circumstances of the disappearance of the original case file”. While this was going on, suspects were released from custody since the evidence to indict them had disappeared.Magistrates were manipulated by criminals, Paulino accused, “in order to delay decisions or so that cases remain for months on end in the offices of judges or prosecutors without any dispatch”. Through such manoeuvres, he added, organised criminal syndicates gained time to move funds, to flee the country, and to dispose of evidence.Paulino made a thinly veiled reference to last month’s release on parole of Vicente Ramaya, one of the men convicted of the murder, in 2000, of the country’s foremost investigative journalist, Carlos Cardoso.Ramaya was serving a prison sentence of 23 years and six months for his part in the murder, but a judge in the tenth section of the Maputo City Court, Aderito Malhope, signed the papers granting Ramaya conditional release after serving half his sentence.The justification for this early release is Ramaya’s supposedly good behaviour in prison. The court contacted the prison authorities for confirmation of this.Paulino found it incomprehensible that certificates of good behaviour could be issued “in favour of prisoners suspected of commanding criminal networks by mobile phone from their prison cells”.In defiance of all prison norms, Cardoso’s killers have repeatedly gained access to mobile phones, through which they can issue instructions to accomplices, and intimidate opponents. There were reports that Ramaya had continued to run a real estate business from his prison cell, and that this business was involved in swindling the National Social Security Institute (INSS) out of a million dollars over the purchase of a house in the plush Maputo suburb of Sommerschield.Paulino warned that organised crime is a serious threat to the Mozambican state. “With organised crime there can be no half-measures”, he said. “Either organised crime does away with the social model of state that we are building, or the state does away with organised crime”.He told the new attorneys “we want you to make a difference in the fight against this swamp of organised crime”.As for “infiltrated agents of crime” in the prosecution services, Paulino warned “we shall be implacable, intolerant and absolutely resolute, cost what it may”. Those who did not accept his warnings would find themselves facing court cases, since, when it came to rooting our corrupt prosecutors, “we shall not leave a single clue uninvestigated”.He urged his audience “to continue the titanic battle we are waging against crime. You must pay attention, not only to your own conduct as attorneys, but also to that of others, of judges, of lawyers and of the police”.