Mozambique ex-minister goes to jail after landmark graft trial

2011-05-24 12:48

Maputo – The first government minister convicted of graft in Mozambique has begun his prison sentence, after convincing the Supreme Court to sharply reduce his jail time, state media said today.

Antonio Munguambe, the country’s transport and communications minister from 2005 to 2008, was convicted with five others in February last year for stealing 54 million meticals (R12.9 million) from public company Aeroportos de Mocambique.

Originally sentenced to 20 years, the Supreme Court yesterday slashed his jail time to four-and-a-half years, saying embezzlement from a public company earned a lesser penalty than stealing money from the government, according to Noticias newspaper.

Munguambe was escorted yesterday from his home to a Maputo prison to begin serving his time, the paper said.

Sentences were also reduced for Munguambe’s co-defendants in the case – the company’s former chief executive, the ex-finance director, Munguambe’s former chief of staff and the head of an airport catering company.

This was the first ministerial-level prosecution in Mozambique, a country that ranks in the bottom third of watchdog group Transparency International’s graft index.

A former interior minister was sentenced to two years in prison in March this year for stealing public funds during his tenure.

 

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