Mozambique's anti-corruption campaign takes another 28 officials to court
Mozambique's anti-corruption authorities on Tuesday initiated here a trial of 28 officials who allegedly diverted 2.7 million U.S. dollars from the national fund for agriculture.
Setina Titosse, the kingpin of the alleged fraud, is the former managing director of the Agriculture Development Fund (FDA). She was arrested soon after the anti-corruption bureau gathered evidence of her crimes.
Titosse was accused of involvement in approving fictitious agriculture projects. Since most did not exist or were partly implemented, the money was later transferred to her bank account.
The defendants are facing 355 charges including corruption, money laundering, embezzlement, passive and active corruption, abuse of power, and payment of undue remunerations.
An in-depth report by the daily Noticias found that there were a total of 80 bank transactions in the process and at least 30 of them were related to the withdrawal of money from the FDA.
Ten companies were used in the past two years to obtain illicit advantages, most of which were operated in the commercial domain, unrelated to the purpose of the FDA, the report said.
The FDA is an autonomous financial institution, a branch of the Ministry of Agriculture dedicated to boosting the country's agriculture sector.
According to the anti-corruption bureau, Titosse's housemaid played an important role in identifying people that helped the former chairwoman illegally sack money from the FDA.
The housemaid testified that since 2014, the fraud has benefited her employer's brothers, nieces, nephews and friends, who were involved and also helped divert the authorities from tracing the origin of the money.
Only two months ago, the Mozambican justice authorities held a trial against former Minister of Justice Abdulremane Lino de Almeida and sentenced him to two years in prison for misusing state funds.