Audit exposes $500m secret government loans in Moza


MAPUTO. — Mozambican officials have launched a probe after an audit raised questions over $500 million of secret government loans, the country’s prosecutor’s office said Saturday.

The audit, by British risk management firm Kroll, revealed the $500 million gap from a total of $2 billion in loans, said a statement from the office.

Findings of unapproved credits to tuna fishing company EMATUM, security firm Proindicus and Mozambique Asset Management (MAM) have led the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and donor countries to halt financial support to Mozambique which dealt a blow to the economic growth of the Southeast African nation.

In a summary of the audit, Kroll said Mozambican officials had given inconsistent answers about how 500 million dollars earmarked for the tuna fishing company had been spent.

“Gaps remain in understanding how exactly the $2 billion were spent, despite considerable efforts to close those gaps,” it said.

“Until the inconsistencies are resolved, and satisfactory documentation is provided, at least $500 million of expenditure of a potentially sensitive nature remains unaudited and unexplained,” it added.

The audit summary found that the companies that borrowed money are not operational and also identified their mismanagement in complying with contract obligations. The IMF also praised the prosecutor’s office for releasing the summary report, saying that it was a step forward towards transparency over the debts.

A mission from the IMF is expected to discuss the audit results with the Mozambican authorities in July. In a separate development, an earthquake struck central Mozambique on Saturday morning.

According to media reports the 5.8 magnitude quake impacted the towns of Dondo and Tica. Residents of Beira, the second biggest city in the country, also confirmed having felt and heard a loud vibration Saturday morning. The United States’ Geological Survey confirmed the incident.

It is the fourth earthquake to hit the southern African country over an 11-year period. No damages have been reported. The most recent earthquake that hit the southern Africa region was in February when a magnitude 5.7 earthquake struck northern Zambia specifically the southern area of Lake Tanganyika.

The USGS confirmed that it could be felt across the lake in Tanzania and to the north in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo. It was, however, considered as shallow due to its depth of only 10km.

Preceding that, an earthquake had killed six people in the DRC’s Bakavu region whiles another one struck north-west Tanzania in September 2016 killing 19, damaging properties and rendering hundreds homeless. — Xinhua/Africa News/HR. (source: The Herald)

June 2017
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