Connect with us

More News

Court nullifies secret loans taken by Mozambique government

Mozambique has arrested several senior former officials linked to the scandal

News Central

Published

on

Court nullifies secret loans taken by Mozambique government

Mozambique’s constitutional court declared on Tuesday that hundreds of millions of dollars in secret government loans were void, signalling that they did not need to be repaid in a ruling hailed by civil society campaigners.

The court ruling focused on one of the secret loans – which combined totalled around $2 billion – taken out by the government between 2013 and 2015 for supposed financing for a tuna-fishing fleet and a maritime surveillance project.

Mozambique has arrested several senior former officials linked to the scandal, which has been described as a vast fraud and money laundering scheme.  

Civil society groups say the loans from international banks were illegal and that Mozambicans must not be burdened with years of hefty repayments.

The constitutional court declared “the nullity of the acts inherent to the loan” – voiding an $850 million debt contracted by the state tuna-fishing company Ematum.

“This decision represents a great victory for the Mozambican citizen,” said Denise Namburete of the Budget Monitoring Forum, an organisation that brought the case.

“It means that any action by the government regarding this debt will be a violation of the country’s highest lawmaking body.”

An independent audit found that $500 million of the loans, which were deliberately hidden from the country’s parliament as well as international donors, was diverted and remains unaccounted for.

When the debt was revealed, Mozambique was plunged into the worst financial crisis in its history.

The international bodies allege that at least $200 million was spent on bribes and kickbacks, including $12 million for former finance minister Manuel Chang.

Mozambique defaulted on the debt, and repayments could swallow up future revenue from natural gas deposits discovered in the north of the country.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

East Africa News & Stories

Internet blackout hits cities in Ethiopia

An investigation found that with the exception of the capital Addis Ababa, most of the country’s cities had no internet.

News Central

Published

on

Internet blackout hits cities in Ethiopia

Most of Ethiopia was without internet access on Tuesday on the eighth consecutive day of an unexplained break.

An investigation found that with the exception of the capital Addis Ababa, most of the country’s cities had no internet.

Cherer Aklilu, executive director of the state monopoly Ethio Telecom, declined to give any details to explain the break.

“We expect to release an official statement on the internet blackout before the end of this week and we urge our users to be patient until that time,” she told AFP.

Internet access was cut on June 11, briefly restored and then severed again. It was restored for the Addis area on Friday.

The cut is the longest since reformist Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to office in April last year in the Horn of Africa country.

The current break coincides with annual school-leaving exams, which end on Friday. In 2017, the authorities defended a similar blackout by saying they wanted to limit cheating for the important tests.

However, the internet was also repeatedly cut between 2015 and 2017 when the government at the time faced waves of protests.

Continue Reading

Africa News & Updates

Church attacked and burnt down over imam arrest in Niger

Witnesses said that late Saturday youths set up roadblocks and burned tyres in the streets of Niger’s third largest city

News Central

Published

on

Protesters torched a church overnight in the southern Niger city of Maradi after the arrest of a prominent imam who was subsequently freed Sunday, religious and security sources said. Sheikh Rayadoune, the imam of the Zaria mosque in Maradi, was detained Saturday after criticising a proposed law on religious worship as “anti-Islam” a day earlier.

He has appealed to his supporters to end the unrest. The group behind the church attack also burned the pastor’s car, a church official said in a WhatsApp message to parishioners that were sent to journalists.

A local security source confirmed the incident in Maradi’s working-class district of Zaria. Witnesses said that late Saturday youths set up roadblocks and burned tyres in the streets of Niger’s third largest city as news of the imam’s arrest spread.

A police source said that Sheikh Rayadoune had been released Sunday afternoon, adding: “He has acknowledged his mistake and has apologised.” Shortly before his release, the imam published a statement appealing for calm.

“All my supporters must stop burning things and making trouble in town: Islam does not recommend that I have in no way been mistreated by police,” the message said. The imam said he had read a bad translation of the draft law, which had been transcribed from French into Hausa, Niger’s main language.

He added that he would rectify his position at Friday prayers.

Law not ‘anti-Islam

A top interior ministry official said the legislation, designed to lay down official guidelines on worship, was “the fruit of many consultations…There’s nothing anti-Islam in the text.”He said it was aimed at preventing “anarchy and the distortions promoted by obscurantist terrorist groups to gain ground in our country.”

The government adopted a draft bill in late April, saying there was a “total absence of norms” regarding worship in Niger while fundamentalist and extremist tendencies were on the rise.

“To head off risks of abuse seen in other countries … it is vital the state gives itself the means to control practices in the religious sphere,” the statement added. Parliament still has to vote through the text before it becomes law. Niger has experienced several bouts of religious strife in recent years.

Following the publication of cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed in French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in 2015 ten people were killed in anti-Christian riots in Niamey. Several churches were destroyed in the capital and second city Zinder.

Continue Reading

Africa News & Updates

Health minister issues Ebola threat alert in Tanzania

Tanzania’s northwestern Kagera, Mwanza and Kigoma regions are most at risk.

News Central

Published

on

Health workers stand at a non-gazetted crossing point in the Mirami village, near the Mpondwe border as Tanzania issues Ebola threat alert

Tanzania’s health minister issued an Ebola ‘alert’ Sunday after the disease, which has killed over 1,400 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo, appeared in their shared neighbour, Uganda. “I want to alert the public that there is the threat of an Ebola epidemic in our country,” Ummy Mwalimu tweeted days after officials confirmed that members of a family who had travelled to the DRC had died in western Uganda.

The minister said the alert was necessary given the frequent interactions between Tanzanian and Ugandan people “via the official borders or by other, unofficial channels.” Tanzania’s northwestern Kagera, Mwanza and Kigoma regions were most at risk, said Mwalimu. But “given that this disease transmits very easily and very quickly from one person to another, nearly the entire country is in danger.”

The minister began a tour of the frontier regions on Saturday to assess the measures in place at ports and border posts to deal with potential incoming Ebola cases. The country has not yet been touched by the often fatal viral disease that causes violent vomiting and diarrhoea, impairs kidney and liver function, and sometimes internal and external bleeding.

Ebola spreads among humans through close contact with the blood, body fluids, secretions or organs of an infected person, or objects contaminated by such fluids. The current outbreak in the DRC is the worst on record after an epidemic that struck mainly in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone between 2014-2016, killing more than 11,300 people.

On Friday, the World Health Organization said the outbreak does not yet warrant being declared a “public health emergency of international concern”, meaning it would require a “coordinated international response”.The UN body declares public health emergencies when a disease outbreak in a country risks spreading beyond its borders.

Two members of a Ugandan family, a woman and her five-year-old grandson died of Ebola this week after travelling to the DRC to take care of a dying family member and attend the funeral. The boy’s brother, aged three, is also infected, and several family members are in isolation. To date, no locally-acquired Ebola cases have been reported in Uganda.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Newsletter

Trending