A group of non-governmental organisations in Mozambique has launched an international campaign and online petition to demand that the Treasury’s Economic Secretary of the United Kingdom, John Glen, investigate.
The group, Budget Monitoring Forum (FMO), says Mozambique should not repay any of the loans it received from Credit Suisse as part of a $2 billion sovereign debt scandal that has seen three former employees and a former finance minister arrested. They demand that the British banks that granted the loans that turned into debts to state security companies should be probed.
An official FMO statement from Thursday, 21 February 2019 indicates that it is the figure who can order the Serious Fraud Office (FCA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to open investigations and consequently prosecution of officials and banks involved in the scandal.
Under UK law, “giving bribes or commissions to civil servants in other countries is a crime.”
The statement also notes that the indictments filed by the US Justice Department against former Finance Minister Manuel Chang, Senior Managers of Credit Suisse namely Andrew Pearse, Surtel Singh, Detelina Subeva and Jean Boustani of Privinvest provide sufficiently strong evidence of criminal conduct and behind the transactions to finance the Mozambican companies namely Mozambique Tuna Company (EMATUM), PROINDICUS and Mozambique Asset Management (MAM).
They generated benefits in bribes and commissions for the aforementioned agents, at least US $ 200 million, as well as the banks that granted the loans.
This evidence confirms what had already been ascertained and published by the Parliamentary Inquiry Commission (CPI) and the Kroll Audit report commissioned by the Government of Mozambique under pressure from donors and civil society organizations.
Thus, civil society hopes that the lawsuit against the banks will open a new chapter for debt cancellation, freeing Mozambican citizens from paying debts that have not benefited the country.
“Although the accountability process is under way, triggered by the US authorities, it is crucial that banks are also called to respond to justice and remove the responsibility of the Mozambican citizen regarding the payment of this debt,” said the organizations affiliated to the FMO.
Discovery of the unapproved credits to these three security firms led the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Western donors to halt budget support to Mozambique, triggering the collapse of the local currency and debt defaults as well as hitting economic growth.