Mozambique: 48 to be tried for issuing fake visas

The Maputo City Judicial Court has decided to try 48 people accused of involvement in issuing false visas from Mozambican consulates in South Africa, Mozambican daily newspaper Notícias reported on Wednesday.

The paper, which cited a 10 May indictment, said that the defendants had appealed against the decision to set the trial for the High Court of Appeal and are awaiting a decision.

The judge who decided to try the 48 defendants, Ivandra Uamusse, accepted the public prosecutor’s accusation that charged the defendants with association to commit crimes, embezzlement, abuse of office or function, forgery and aiding illegal immigration.

The accused are also charged with passive corruption for unlawful acts or omissions, active corruption and violation of professional secrecy.

The defendants include officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, the Ministry of Labour, the National Institute of Social Security (INSS), the National Migration Service (Senami), the Tax Authority, the Directorate of Civil Identification, Records and Notary and the Office of the Registrar of Legal Entities.

The scam was detected in the Mozambican consulates in the South African cities of Mbombela (Nelspruit), Johannesburg and Durban after inspections by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and Senami.

Last week, five officials from Mozambique’s migration services were arrested, suspected of facilitating the entry of foreigners seeking to recruit members for the drug trade that finances terrorists, the Mozambican police announced.

The officials were arrested as a result of an arrest warrant issued by the Judicial Court of Sofala Province, as part of the measures taken following the arrest of five foreigners who were trying to recruit members of the drug trafficking operation that finances terrorists, the spokesman for the Mozambican National Criminal Investigation Service (Sernic) in Sofala, Alfeu Sitoe, told the media in Beira.