South African Police Minister Bheki Cele visited Mozambique recently and witnessed numerous stolen luxury vehicles with Gauteng registration numbers being driven around Maputo. “They do not even change the number plates there … A lot of the stolen Gauteng cars are being driven freely in the streets of Maputo with no problem.” (Lusa 3 Aug)
Cele’s comment come as several Mozambicans ministers have admitted how deeply corrupted their own ministries are, which is probably not unrelated to upcoming elections and popular discontent against corruption. But blame is consistently given to middle level officials and high level corruption such as the secret debt is never mentioned.
“Corruption is most serious” in the road construction sector, involving both contractors and those in the government giving tenders, said Public Works Minister Joao Machatine, speaking to construction companies in Nampula 20 July. “The ANE (National Roads Administration, Administracao Nacional de Estradas) is notorious for corruption and it is known that colleagues here benefit from construction projects.” And he pointed to the lack of transparency in awarding contracts. (O Pais 23 July)
Foreign companies and Labour Ministry staff are both acting corruptly, admitted Labour Minister Vitoria Diogo. Applications for foreign workers are kept by ministry staff in their desks, for up to two month, until the companies offer to pay a bribe, she said. On the other side, the law sets quotas for foreign workers, and when foreign companies want to bring in more foreigners they make minor changes in the company name to pretend to be a different company, and then pay ministry staff to look the other way.
Meanwhile some companies do not make social security payments for foreign workers, and 372 firms have been denied the right to hire foreign staff because of past failure to pay social security, Diogo said. (O Pais 17 July)
Meanwhile the Mozambican Workers Organisation (OTM, trades union federation) complained about foreign companies hiring foreign workers when Mozambicans with qualifications were available.
But Pedro Baltazar, vice president for labour and social action of the employers association, the Confederation of Mozambican Economic Associations (CTA), said excessive bureaucracy in hiring foreign labour opens the way to corrupt practices and prevented qualified staff from working in the country. (Lusa 3 Aug). The Maputo city court fined the construction company 7 Mares $17,000 for employing a foreigner to direct a project for Engen in Maputo’s Zimpeto neighborhood, after the employee’s work permit expired on 6 January, 2016. (Zitamar 7 Aug)
Corruption has cost the government $4 mn in the first half of 2018 alone, according to Cristovao Mondlane, spokesman for the Central Office for Combating Corruption. Among the government officials accused of corruption this year are seven mayors, five district administrators, six CEOs, six permanent secretaries, and 15 heads of state services. Mostly, corruption at this level takes the form of ghost companies created by officials that win tenders from the offices the officials direct. (Zitamar 7 Aug)
Mondlane also said his office is still investigating the $900,000 bribe construction company Odebrecht admitted paying to the Armando Guebuza administration to obtain favourable terms for the construction of Nacala airport. The Brazilian part was being financed by Brazil’s state-owned development bank, BNDES — which suffered its first default over the Nacala Airport project. — All Africa.com