Momade Rassul Case

Nacala Way (2): The Bag of the 8 Million

Written by Luis Nhachote

Translated by Francisco Chuquela

The Momade Rassul‘s pre-trial detention last week through orders of the General Attorney (PGR), for the existence of strong evidences in the practice of several crimes, with special emphasis for money laundering, and later release, after the payment of a collateral of about 8 million meticais, may be an indication of when there is cooperation between institutions, the efficiency of the General Attorney can be improved.

Zandamela’s voice and possible cooperation between the Central Bank and the General Attorney

The Primeira Mão had access to information which connects the suspicions of the Central Bank to the quick action of the General Attorney. Indeed, everything seems to lead to the belief that the steps leading to Momade Rassul’s preventive detention were accelerated through a series of steps taken by the Bank of Mozambique (BM), after the Governor Rogério Zandamela have said that some potential buyers of Moza, Who allegedly wanted to acquire it, did indeed look for ways to launder money. Apparently Momade Rassul had proposed to buy Moza and the Central Bank saw signs of money laundering. The Law No. 14/2013, of 12th August, established a regime for Prevention and Combating Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing in Mozambique, which provided a framework for Momade Rassul to be accused. And this Law guides the actions of financial institutions, which are under the supervision of the Bank of Mozambique, to act in a similar case to the behavior of Momade Rassul and his companies.

In the statement issued by the Provincial Attorney of Nampula, following the Momade Rassul Rahim’s preventive detention, the Public Ministry stated that the arrest occurred due to suspicions of Rassul’s connection to crimes of money laundering and illicit enrichment. He is also accused of crimes of tax fraud, smuggling and misconduct, this connected to the non payment of taxes on imports, but that can be corrected with payment of a fine. The businessman indicted has investments in the Nampula and Nacala cities.

An Enviable Empire, Achilles Heel

Momade Rassul’s suspicions of crime may have sprung from his rapid rise in the business world. According to the Bulletin of the Republic (BR) number 53 of the Series III of December 31, 2003 Momade Rassul Abdul Rahim by full name and Abdul Hamid Abdul Rahim entered the cement business through a company formed by him named A.R.J Cimento Nacala limitada. The initial capital subscribed in the company was two thousand one hundred and nineteen million and four hundred meticais. The A.R.J Cimentos is then sold to the INSITEC group which in its turn sold to the CIMPOR group.

In 2009, according to the BR number 20 of the Series IIIof May 20, Rahim, together with his wife Saidata Muahija Ibraimo Saide Nuro Rahim with whom he is married in a regime of communion of assets, constituted the Sociedade Sidata Imobiliária Limitada. One million meticais was the initial capital of the constitution of this company, whose corporate purpose is “a) Real estate activity, especially the promotion, development and exploration of real estate projects and its respective sale, purchase and sale of properties, including lease; B) Purchase and sale of financial holdings and portfolio management of third party securities. The company may carry out other activities that are subsidiary or complementary to its main purpose and engage in any other economic activity in which the shareholders agree and be permitted by law.”

Yet in 2009 according to BR number 40 of the Series III of 12 October, Momade Rahim and his wife joined Hamida Bay Issa and formed the S e S Refinarias de Óleos, Limitada. The objective of this company, which starts with one million meticais, is “(a) industry, namely the refining of crude oils and the marketing of its finished products, namely oils and soaps; b) Trade, namely, the import and export of goods and services; c) Purchase and sale of financial holdings and portfolio management of third party securities. The company may carry out other activities that are subsidiary or complementary to its main purpose and engage in any other economic activity in which the shareholders agree and be permitted by Law. ” In 2010, according to the BR number 28 of the Series IIIof July 14, Momade Rahim, his wife Saidata and a relative Abdul Hamide Abdul Rahim constituted the S e S Cimentos, Limitada, society from which the last one separated in August of the same year, as attested by BR number 32 of the same series of August 16. In September of that same year Abdul Hamid Abdul Rahim departs from the A.R.J Cimentos Nacala, leaving only Momade Rahim in the society. In the early 2014 Momade and his wife constitute Shizan Trading, Limitada according to the BR number 103 of the Series III of December 24. This company based in Nacala-Porto, has another registration in the BR of 2015 and maintains the same shareholder structure.

It should be noted that Eduardo Jorge is Momade Rassul’s lawyer. Of Portuguese origin, based in Maputo and enrolled in the Lawyers Association, Eduardo was notable in the Carlos Cardoso Case trial, where he defended Nini Satar and in the “Luisa Diogo Case” when he defended the Zambeze journalists who were accused by the MP of “attack against the security of the State”. He is also João Jorge’s brother, a well-known professional in the banking system, having been member of the executive committee of at least two financial institutions.

General Attorney and money laundering

The PGR had warned in November of last year about the increase in the number of cases of money laundering in the country.

According to Beatriz Buchili, who spoke at the seminar on the subject, under the motto “Using the Anti-Money Laundering to Combat Corruption”, it was proved that “the intercommunication between these two phenomena and, not infrequently, in investigation and instruction of cases related to money laundering crimes are investigated and extracted as indications of the existence of corruption crimes. And the General Attorney asked for the institutional coordination of all to stop or limit this type of crime. And it seems to have worked by this time. The intelligence of the Bank of Mozambique might have watched Momade rise and as he attempted to penetrate the financial system by purchasing a Bank of the square, the alarm rang, the information may have been shared with the General Attorney, and the General Attorney took action. If this is how the Primeira Mão found out, here is a small piece of evidence showing that giving the sole responsibility to the General Attorney for combating various crimes and not supplying it with sufficient material does not meet the expectations of the society that wants to be free from these crimes. The cooperation between institutions can move mountains. Even the release, with a bail of 8 million, can be seen as an act of cooperation between institutions of justice and not as opposition to the decision of the General Attorney.

The Central Office for the Fight against Corruption (GCCC), the National Criminal Investigation Services (SERNIC), the Mozambican Financial Information Office, the Bank of Mozambique, the Insurance Supervision Institute, the Stock Exchanges and Commodities Exchanges, General Inspection of Games, are the main institutions pointed out by the General Attorney as being those which must take concerted action to better and effectively combat the phenomenon of money laundering. When in September 2011 the twin towers of New York were overthrown and hit the Pentagon, the American Government discovered that if there was cooperation between different national intelligence organizations, perhaps the famous 9/11 had been aborted. The shout of the General Attorney must be heard and be materialized greater institutional cooperation, at least among the concerned institutions.

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