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Vol 60 No 2

Published 25th January 2019


Mozambique

US spears the loan sharks

Indictments against foreign bankers and top Frelimo officials tied to the $2billion secret loans fraud have panicked the government. The charges are just the beginning

The United States government has indicted a swathe of bankers, sales people and Mozambican public officials with wire fraud, money laundering and securities fraud. It claims a criminal network of Mozambicans conspired with partners in foreign banks and shipbuilding companies to set up fraudulent projects. They would profit from fees on the necessary loans and from kickbacks from overpriced services and equipment. The accused set up 'fronts to raise money to enrich themselves' which masqueraded as viable commercial schemes, the US indictment says. They 'intentionally diverted portions of the loan proceeds to pay at least $200m in bribes and kickbacks.' The result was to saddle one of the poorest countries in the world with loans for $2bn worth of overpriced, unviable projects which it cannot repay. Africa Confidential was the first to question the probity of the largest of the alleged scams, loans supposedly destined to create a tuna-fishing fleet, in October 2013 (AC Vol 54 No 22, The mystery ship deal). We were the first to reveal the existence of the company Proindicus, the full extent of its loans, and its links to another one of the companies in the scam, Ematum (AC Vol 56 No 14, The fishing deal got fishier). Our experts now fill in gaps in the US indictment (https://www.africa-confidential.com:443/uploads/content/US Moz indictment.pdf).

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