Latest Alert; IMF “looking forward” to Mozambique’s debt audit results: “An important element in discussions” with government

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The results of the audit of Mozambique’s hidden debts will be an “important element” in negotiations between the IMF and the government, a Fund source said in Washington on Thursday.

“The results of the audit will obviously constitute an element, an important element let me say, in discussions with the authorities,” said Gerry Rice, communications director at the International Monetary Fund.

“We now look forward to the publication of a summary of the report in the coming weeks and in due course, of the entire report, and at that point, we’ll be able to provide an informed view on the audit and its implications,” he added.

He was responding to questions posed during a regular meeting with journalists.

Talks with Mozambican authorities about a possible new program “started last December,” he said.

“Technical discussions have been ongoing over the last few months, and Fund staff have remained engaged with the authorities,” Rice said.

The audit by consultant Kroll commissioned by Mozambique’s Attorney General’s Office was delivered on May 12.

At the time, the IMF representative in Mozambique, Ari Aisen, said he expected the PGR to publish a summary by the end of May, but the institution has not yet given any indication of when this could happen.

Attorney General Beatriz Buchili said on May 29 that “work to verify” the compliance of the report “with the terms of reference, because the audit was requested to technically assist the investigations under the terms of the preparatory instruction” was ongoing.

Two days later, Aisen reaffirmed: “I hope the PGR will complete the verification and publish the summary as soon as possible.”

The Kroll consultancy was selected in November 2016 by the Attorney General’s Office to investigate “the existence of criminal infractions, among others, in the process of setting up, financing and operating Proindicus, Ematum (Mozambican Tuna Company) and MAM (Mozambique Asset Management)”.

At stake is the fate of about US$2.2 billion of debts contracted between 2013 and 2014 by the three state-owned enterprises with foreign banks with government guarantees, some of which have not been approved in parliament or registered in public accounts.

The hidden debt scandal has led to the suspension of external budget support whose return the international partners make dependent on the audit results.

Source: Lusa / imf.org

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