Written by Luís Nhachote
Translated by Francisco Chuquela
Judging by the various reactions to the recently published report on the so-called ‘hidden debts’, it seems that Kroll has opened a can of worms. But it doesn’t seem that Kroll will have the work of picking them up or of closing back the can. The ball now is with others, among them the Mozambicans who are doing value judgments in the press and social media.
Some statements say that the report has unraveled the mystery and that now the General Attorney must manage to arrest those who are involved. Others are sad because president Guebuza’s name is not mentioned in the report. There are also those who say that the report didn’t find any crime, despite a forensic audit. There are others, such as the involved banks like Credit Suiss and VTB, who say that the document is misleading.
There is a basic principle that says that a document that needs interpretation, and can be interpreted in different ways, it is because it is not clear to its audience. And in the present case, who wrote the document is a company which was presented to us as the best in the world to discover assets which disappears without leaving traces in the eyes of the laity. It is understood by those who are skilled in this matter that this document can not be considered a research product as it was proposed, but rather a common audit document, which many other companies, including those that are in the “Mozambican square” could have done.
One strange thing that appears in the report is the excuse that authorities and people involved withheld information. This seems to be what is called “excuse of a bad payer” for who is a researcher. Ancient philosophers such as Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus introduced in the philosophy what they called “premeditatio malorum” (premeditation of evils or devils) to aid in reasoning and the process of solving complex problems. This process consists, in advance, in trying to predict the worst that can happen in a process of investigation, decision making or even in the life. The possibility of predicting the worst that can happen, leads to getting around the obstacle. Even today many people and many organizations work with “premeditatio malorum”.
If Kroll had used this philosophical adage, it would have easily foreseen that such institutions and individuals would not easily cooperate either for protection of state secrecy, if this was the case, or to conceal the crime if it exists, or both. There seems to be no doubt that Kroll is a company professionally established with wide experience. On its website it categorically states that it successfully conducted international searches for devious assets that it thought was lost. So it does not make much sense for Kroll to mortgage the success of its work in the cooperation of those who are involved.
This excuse, when aligned with other previous steps, may indicate other objectives behind this investigation. First, why did we have to need an organization of such international weight to solve a problem with which we would have dealt better in another way, when we never get a company of this caliber to help us to solve the problems of agriculture and marketing? Secondly, there is no current example of a private company investigating anything within the Defense and Security Forces of any Country.
When a credible person accuses the Allied Armed Forces in Iraq or Syria of bombarding targets of civilians or civilians, these forces flatly refuse to allow anyone from outside them to do the investigation to confirm or not. They do the investigation themselves and act on the results. One could not imagine Kroll, or another similar company, investigate the CIA, FBI, or MI5.
No one would dare to suggest that a private enterprise, or even a foreign company, to investigate the Russian intelligence agency SVR RF, or the VAJA of Iran, or MOSSAD of Israel. Why then in Mozambique it is accepted and with some facility to investigate SISE and MDN by a foreign company?
The selction of Kroll was made in an unusual way. If a Mozambican state-owned company or Ministry had selected a direct awarding entity at a cost of USD 50 million, it was likely to be investigated or even incriminated for corruption or lack of transparency. Why this case of Kroll then? And then the investigation had its results which were accepted without questioning the superficiality of the result. These and other possible questions are in the air for reflection and judgment of each one.
In this judgment occurs the possibility of thinking about the can of worms. There are recent examples of openings of cans worms by methods that are sometimes subtle and sometimes not, and the countries where this has happened are still trying to catch the worms to put them back in a controllable place. Those who have opened are taking advantage of the chaos or watching from afar and judge. And this attempt to regain control of the scattered worms has a price in human lives, social and political and economic instability.
In Iraq, the search for weapons of mass destruction has opened cans of worms and the Iraqi people are still paying to control worms of every sort. When Saddam Hussein was to be hanged, one of the persons shouted at him, “You will burn in hell.” And Saddam responded to with something like “it will not be worse than the hell that Iraq is going to dive into.” And Iraq is still a hell even trying to contain worms of all kinds. In Afghanistan, in Libya in Syria, etc. the same phenomenon happened, although the method was different from that of Kroll, because it would never have been accepted by the governments and peoples of these countries.
Why are not these examples a lesson for Mozambique? These questions do not serve to defend crime and criminals. They serve to deepen our problems and know how to eradicate their existence in an effective and sovereign way.
Corruption is a great evil in the country, but it is a symptom of a much greater moral problem, that is undermining our society and dignity. If it may be true that there are powerful persons who can block the functioning of justice system in the scheme of so-called hidden debts and other cases, it is also true that the solution is not solved by calling outsiders to help in this way. It must be Mozambicans who solve their problems in order to maintain their dignity and their sovereignty.
Unfortunately among Mozambicans who make public opinion there are those who seem unable to separate the Country from the Government or individuals associated to the Government. In order to reach these individuals or the Government they give shots to the whole Country, because there is no doubt that when a Country allows a private or foreign intelligence company to investigate its Defense and Security Forces, it is mortgaging the dignity and the Sovereignty of the country.
When former US President George Bush appeared wearing military uniform and declared “Mission Accomplished ” related to the invasion of Iraq, even after discovering that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction, and the war continued, the world thought that President George was lying. The mission had not been fulfilled yet. But maybe he was not lying. The mission, perhaps, was to open the can worms and leave to Iraqis the difficult and inglorious task of controlling the worms. President George reminded of Julius Caesar of the Roman Empire who whenever he subjugated people or kingdom he would shout “Veni, Vidi, Vici” (I came, I saw, I conquered). Who knows whether this was the mission of Kroll on the agenda of other interests? If that was the mission, Kroll or the commanders might shout “Mission Accomplished” or “Veni, Vidi, Vici”, because the the can of worms is open.