Armando Ndambi, son of Mozambique’s ex-president Armando Guebuza has denied all allegations that he took bribes to facilitate a $2 billion secret government loan that led the southern African country into a deep financial crisis.
Ndambi is among 19 high-profile defendants facing trial over alleged connection to a 2013 corruption case known popularly known as the “hidden debt” scandal.
He is accused of receiving $33 million from an international shipbuilding group, Privinvest, to convince his father, who was president at the time, to approve corrupt maritime projects.
Privinvest has previously denied wrongdoing.
In 2013 and 2014, three public companies secured $2 billion in state-guaranteed loans from international banks to buy a tuna-fishing fleet and surveillance ships, which they contracted to Privinvest.
An independent audit later found that $500 million of the loans, which were kept hidden from parliament, remains unaccounted for.
Surfaced in 2016, the loan scandal prompted donors such as the International Monetary Fund to cut off financial support to the country, triggering sovereign debt default and currency collapse.
Ndambi was arrested in February 2019.
Ndambi who was the third suspect to testify on Monday, one week after the 43-day trial started said “I have never received money from Privinvest,” he told judges, claiming he had no knowledge of emails presented in court as evidence of his involvement.
Ndambi also denied meeting Antonio Carlos do Rosario, a former director of Mozambique’s intelligence unit and head of the three state-owned groups, during a 2012 trip to Privinvest shipyards in Germany and Abu Dhabi.
“I went to visit a petrochemical company… (and) hear business opportunities,” he said.
Guebuza 78, who attended the hearing, is due to be heard as a declarant in coming days.