Ndambi Guebuza, the son of former Mozambique’s President, has gone on trial over the country’s $2bn (£1.5bn) “tuna bonds” deal.
At least 18 other people have gone on trial over the “tuna bonds” affair, local media reports monitored by African Entertainment revealed.
Ex-President Armando Guebuza’s son and the 18 other persons are facing charges of blackmail, embezzlement and money laundering and are yet to comment on the charges, reports say.
They are being tried in a canvas tent in the grounds of a maximum-security prison in the outskirts of the capital, Maputo, according to reports.
Reports say Maputo’s courtrooms were deemed too small for the several lawyers, 70 witnesses and 250 media workers who have been accredited to attend the hearing.
According to reports, during the opening court session, the trial judge asked all the accused persons to attend court in prison uniform.
The $2bn (£1.5bn) “tuna bonds” affair is considered Mozambique’s biggest corruption scandal.
It would be recalled that the scandal resulted in donors including the International Monetary Fund to stop giving financial support to Mozambique. That led to its economy collapsing.
Currently, former President Guebuza’s Frelimo party is ruling Mozambique and has been in power since independence in 1975.
About the scandal
African Entertainment understands that between
2013-2014, three newly established companies took on $2.2bn of debt, much of it without the knowledge or approval of Mozambique’s parliament.
Later, Mozambique’s auditors reportedly discovered $500 million of the money was missing.
And because Mozambican government stood as guarantor of the loans, the state has to repay loans if things went wrong.
As reported by local media outlets, the amount in question was spent on buying a tuna factory and a maritime security fleet, as well as to finance other deals involving companies in which the state is a leading shareholder.