Mozambique PGR Declines to Charge Four Over ‘Hidden Debts’

pgrThe Mozambican Attorney-General’s Office (PGR) has decided not to charge four people in connection with the scandal of Mozambique’s “hidden debts”, reports Monday’s issue of the independent newssheet “Carta de Mocambique”.

Three of these are Hamang Kamlesh Kumar, Harchil Baraat Kumar and the late Kamlesh Kumar Ruguenate. The PGR issued a dispatch declining to prosecute these three members of the same family, since there was not enough evidence of their involvement in the corrupt and money laundering scheme around the three security-related companies Proindicus, Ematum (Mozambique Tuna Company) and MAM (Mozambique Asset Management).

The fourth suspect is rather different. She is Carolina Reis, daughter of the late Carlos Reis, founder of a now defunct political party, UNAMO (Mozambique National Union). She was suspected of money laundering, falsification of documents and membership of a criminal association, because in 2013 she received in her account 240,000 US dollars from the sale of a two storey house, which once belonged to her father, in the central city of Quelimane, to Antonio do Rosario, the former head of economic intelligence of the intelligence service, SISE.

Rosario was a key player in the scandal, who became chairperson of all three fraudulent companies.

Carolina Reis received the money, not directly from Rosario, but from the Abu Dhabi based company, Privinvest Shipbuilding. The Privinvest group became the sole contractor for Proindicus, Ematum and MAM and was a key channel for the payment of bribes and kickbacks (which the US investigation into the case estimated ran to at least 200 million dollars).

Her defence is that she received the money at the request of her father. It came in two instalments, on 29 August and 17 September 2013. Her lawyers told the PGR that all the financial transactions were at the behest of her father, and only he would have been able to explain them.

Once the money had been deposited in her account, and Carlos Reis had signed an irrevocable power of attorney over the building in favour of Rosario, her lawyers considered the case closed.

They claimed Carolina Reis could not identify any acts she had committed that might fit the definition of money laundering or falsification of documents. She had never been the owner of the house sold to Rosario, signed no documents concerning it, and had never done business with anybody else involved in the “hidden debts”. The defence suggested that maybe Carlos Reis had committed crimes, but not his daughter.

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