Mozambique's banking crisis
This is the English version of a series of 12 articles which appeared over three weeks in September 2001 in metical. Several of the articles have
been expanded slightly from their Portuguese originals. A list of abbreviations is at the end. The articles were all written by Joseph Hanlon, who can be
contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Killing the goose that laid the golden eggs
More than $400 million went missing from the banking system in the 1990s. Carlos Cardoso and António Siba-Siba Macuácua were assassinated to stop us from knowing how much was stolen, who took it, and how the theft was done.
All countries use banks politically. In Mozambique, the banks were used to build socialism, to keep the country running during the war, and then in the new capitalist era to promote local entrepreneurs and keep the economy out of foreign hands.
And a lot of money was simply stolen by foreign and domestic businessmen and bankers. Many hands were in the honey pot.
There may be a difference between stealing money and promoting a new elite, but the people who killed Cardoso and Siba-Siba were clearly convinced that they would be unable to publicly justify taking money - and that enough money had been taken to justify at least two deaths.
They will probably succeed in ensuring we never know the details. But that makes it even more important to review what we do know, and put it into context. This study is based on interviews with bankers and others who know the Mozambican banking scene. They did not want to be identified, and they are not now involved with either BCM or Banco Austral. Banco de Moçambique refused to talk to us.
In a series of 12 articles, I will try to show:
The 11 parts will cover the following:
There will be no revelations and little that is new. But by bringing together what we already know, I hope to show that growing greed eventually killed the goose that
laid the golden eggs. In the end, the political elite lost control of the banks. Far from Mozambican empowerment, the result has been foreign control of the banking system.
metical - archives 2001