Maputo, 1 Mar (AIM) – The Mozambican parliament, the Assembly of the Republic, met in plenary session, behind closed doors, on Wednesday to discuss a report into allegations that an unnamed parliamentary deputy is involved in drug trafficking.
The report comes from a parliamentary commission of inquiry set up to investigate the allegation, after it was made by Venancio Mondlane, rapporteur of the parliamentary group of the main opposition party, Renamo.
At a plenary session of the Assembly on 1 December, Mondlane mentioned the detention of two individuals in the central province of Zambezia for drug offences (the smuggling of three kilos of metamphetamine), and claimed that the National Criminal Investigation Service (Sernic) had said that among the people in control of this gang were “office holders in very important public bodies, including a prominent deputy of the Assembly of the Republic.
Mondlane did not name this deputy, but his comments were enough to set up a Commission of Inquiry to find whether there was any truth in the claim.
Although the Wednesday debate is behind closed doors, the 82 page Commission report has fallen into the hands of journalists. According to the summary of the report in Wednesday’s issue of the independent newssheet “Mediafax”, “there is no evidence and no credible information about the involvement of a politician or a deputy in drug trafficking in Macuse (a port in Zambezia)”.
The Commission had interviewed the Director-General of Sernic, the Assistant Director General of the Security and Intelligence Service (SISE), and prosecutors working in the Central Office for the Fight against Organised and Transnational Crime (GCCCOT).
In Zambezia, the Commission spoke with the provincial Secretary of State, the provincial police commander, the director of the office of the provincial governor, and senior staff in the customs service and the National Maritime Institute (INAMAR).
The Commission also interviewed the administrator of Namacurra district, where Macuse is located, and the head of operations of the district police command.
None of these interviews provided any evidence that a parliamentary deputy is involved in trafficking drugs from Macuse.
However, it did find that due to its size, and the porous nature of the border posts, Zambezia “is prone to being used by networks of organized crime, notably drug trafficking”.
The Commission added that INAMAR does not have the resources to monitor and inspect the 444 kilometres of Zambezia’s coastline, and this facilitates the use of the sea for drug trafficking and other illicit activities.
Particularly damning, as far as Renamo is concerned, was the Commission’s finding that at no point did the Renamo parliamentary group, or any individual Renamo deputy, contact Sernic about the supposed involvement of a parliamentarian in the drug trade.