Mozambique prosecutors want to question former President Armando Guebuza over the nation’s $2 billion hidden-debt scandal that’s already seen his son arrested and three ex-Credit Suisse bankers plead guilty to charges in the U.S.
Attorney General Beatriz Buchili has sought approval to question Guebuza, 77, according to documents seen by Bloomberg and confirmed by the ex-president’s lawyer. State prosecutors are seeking clarification on aspects of the scandal from the man who led Mozambique from 2005 to 2015, according to the documents. He’s not accused of wrongdoing.
Guebuza was president of Mozambique in 2013 and 2014 when three state-owned companies took on about $2 billion in debt that banks including Credit Suisse Group AG and VTB Capital Plc helped arrange. The money was to finance coastal security and tuna-fishing projects, which U.S. prosecutors later claimed were fronts created to pay at least $200 million in bribes and kickbacks to bankers and government officials. The government defaulted on one of the loans, and is legally challenging the validity of two others.
“Mozambique’s public prosecutor wants the former president to help discover the material truth, clarifying what the public prosecutor deems relevant,” said Alexandre Chivale, Guebuza’s lawyer. No date has been set for the hearing, he said.
Buchili’s office declined to comment.
Guebuza has previously said his son’s arrest was part of a political campaign to persecute his family. He repeated these claims to the State Council, saying the proposed questioning was “the continuation of a campaign of attempted political assassination, using the judicial apparatus.”
Ndambi Guebuza has been in custody since February last year, together with 19 others who were arrested in connection with the debt scandal. Andrew Pearse, one of the former Credit Suisse bankers who pleaded guilty, testified in a New York court that Ndambi collected at least $50 million in illegal payments for helping introduce Privinvest Group executives to his father. Ndambi denies any wrongdoing.
Jean Boustani, a salesman at Privinvest, which supplied the Mozambican maritime projects, told the court the former president had told him nobody should receive money for the contracts. A New York jury in December found Boustani not guilty of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, securities fraud and launder money.
— With assistance by Matthew Hill