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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Mozambique debt audit finds US 500
million dollars in unaccounted loans

 

MAPUTO Mozambique (Xinhua) -- Mozambican officials have launched a probe after an audit raised questions over 500 million U.S. dollars of secret government loans, the country’s prosecutor’s office said Saturday.

The audit, by British risk management firm Kroll, revealed the 500-million-dollar gap from a total of 2 billion dollars 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 dollars 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 dollars 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.

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EARLIER REPORTS:

Mozambique launches national fair of legal aid to benefit women

MAPUTO Mozambique (Xinhua) -- The Mozambican Association of Women in Legal Career launched on Friday in Maputo the first national fair that is expected to help the population nationwide in need of legal assistance.

Eulalia Ofmane from the association said that despite the objective of reaching 800 people in this fair, they are expecting most of the beneficiaries to be women.

“Nampula province will probably have the majority of beneficiaries but that will depend, later, we will be able to see where the majority of the beneficiaries come from,” said Eulalia.

Eulalia mentioned Nampula because it is the most populated province of the country, but she believed that the outcome may be different at the end of the two-day fair.

The association is also partnering with the National Institute of Legal Aid that provides free assistance to people with no resources to hire a lawyer.

“Both institutions provide free legal assistance, and the difference lies in the beneficiaries, for our association most of the clients are women,” said Eulalia.

This campaign is expected to help the Mozambican government achieve its goal of having 250,000 people legally assisted by 2019 from the current level of 180,000 people.

The number of people facing challenges to get legal assistance is particularly high in rural areas, where the majority of Mozambicans live.

The Association of Women in Legal Career was created in 1995 to guide women pursuing this career as well as to provide legal assistance to people in need.

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5.8 magnitude quake hits central Mozambique, no casualties

MAPUTO Mozambique (Xinhua) -- Mozambican authorities said on Saturday in Maputo that a 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit the central region of Mozambique around 4:30 in the morning.

According to the authorities the epicenter was 34 kilometers from Dondo district in Sofala province and it was 10 kilometers deep.

The mining institute general director, Adriano Senvano confirmed that the earthquake was also felt in the cities of Beira province, the city of Chimoio in Manica province and parts of Zambezia province.

“The earthquake hit the provinces of Beira, Manica, and Zambezia; there were no human casualties,” said Adriano.

The director also left recommendations as to how citizens can reduce the impact when earthquakes occur such as remaining calm and looking for safe places.

The director said that it is important for Mozambicans to be aware of the moves to take when an earthquake occurs because Mozambique is vulnerable to this natural disaster.

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