Mozambique: Guebuza Returns Luxury Car

images (2)Maputo — Mozambican President Armando Guebuza announced on Tuesday that he is returning a luxury car which the Confederation of Mozambican Business Associations (CTA) illegally offered him at a dinner last Friday. The dinner marked the 18th anniversary of the foundation of the CTA, and Guebuza was a guest of honour. During the celebrations the CTA offered the President a Mercedes-Benz saloon which on the market would have cost well over 200,000 US dollars. The gift was in recognition of Guebuza’s achievements during his almost ten years as head of state. “The CTA pays homage to the President for the dynamic that he has brought to the world of business, which is reflected directly and positively in economic growth and in the gradual improvement in Mozambicans’ living conditions”, declared the CTA chairperson, Rogerio Manuel. The CTA had obviously not sought any legal advice before thrusting this surprise present into Guebuza’s hands. But a good number of journalists and lawyers quickly spotted that the gift was in violation of the Law on Public Probity passed last year. The law states that public servants may not receive gifts of a value greater than a third of their monthly or annual salary. Vehicles are specifically included in this ban.

The law also states that a public servant may not receive any gifts at all, regardless of their value, from anyone who has an interest in decisions that the public servant may take. Since the CTA negotiates regularly with the government, the vehicle could have been deemed illegal under this clause of the law as well. A Tuesday statement from Guebuza’s office said that the president took legal advice, and the legal opinions he received indicated that the gift did indeed violate the Law on Public Probity. Accordingly, he has declined the gift and is returning it to the CTA. The statement added that Guebuza “reiterates his thanks for the homage paid to him, and his gratitude for the friendship, support and partnership he has been building with the CTA over the past almost ten years at the head of the destinies of the Mozambican nation”. Guebuza declared that he remains “available and willing to continue working for the constant improvement in the business environment, in order to attract ever more national and foreign investment”. The CTA has not yet announced what it will do with the returned Mercedes. *Source]]>

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