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Cablegate: Narcotrafficking On Upswing, Concerns About

VZCZCXRO6812
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHTO #0080/01 0251156
ZNY SSSSS ZZH
R 251156Z JAN 10 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY MAPUTO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1213
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0600
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 MAPUTO 000080

NOFORN
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/28/2019
TAGS: PGOV PREL KCOR SNAR MZ
SUBJECT: NARCOTRAFFICKING ON UPSWING, CONCERNS ABOUT
GOVERNMENT CONNECTIONS

REF: A. 09 MAPUTO 1309
B. 09 MAPUTO 1291
C. 09 MAPUTO 713
D. 08 MAPUTO 1228
E. 08 MAPUTO 1098

Classified By: Charge d'Affaires Todd Chapman for reasons 1.4 (b+d)

1. (S/NF) SUMMARY: Mozambique has been called the second
most active narcotics transit point in Africa after Guinea
Bissau (Ref C). Despite anti-corruption rhetoric, the ruling
FRELIMO party has not shown much serious political will to
combat narcotrafficking. Mohamed Bashir Suleman (MBS),
described as the largest narcotrafficker in Mozambique, has
direct ties to President Guebuza and former President
Chissano. Other traffickers bribe both high and low level
officials. Chief of Customs Domingos Tivane is a significant
recipient of these narcotrafficking-related bribes. Police
officials told Embassy officers that they are unwilling to go
after "big fish" narcotraffickers because of their ties to
senior officials. The Ministries of Interior and Finance
have recently back-pedaled on U.S. efforts to engage and
assist in narcotrafficking and money laundering, a
significant associated problem. The management of the port
of Nacala, infamous for allowing the flow of drug
transshipments from southwest Asia, was recently taken over
by Celso Correia, principal of Insitec, Ltd, a Guebuza front
company. A new casino law reduces gambling restrictions in
Mozambique, providing another avenue for money laundering.
U.S. support to Border Security and the Mozambican military
(FADM) has resulted in modest seizures of money and drugs.
Post looks forward to an upcoming INL visit to help elaborate
a comprehensive counter-narcotics trafficking (CNT) strategy.
Any such CNT strategy, after first gauging political will
which at this point is suspect, should consider the
strengthening of land and maritime border security,
professionalization of the police force, educational
programming for prosecutors on Mozambican CNT laws already in
place, and development of a financial intelligence
capability. END SUMMARY.

--------------------------------------------
NARCOTRAFFICKERS BLANDISHING GRM AND FRELIMO
--------------------------------------------

2. (S/NF) Mohamed Bashir Suleman (MBS), described by
multiple contacts as the largest narcotrafficker in
Mozambique, contributes heavily to FRELIMO's coffers, and has
provided significant financial backing to the campaigns of
former President Joaquim Chissano and current President
Armando Guebuza. (Note: See TD-314/085221-09 regarding
written communication from the Office of the Presidency
directing certain containers be exempted from standard
scanning and scrutiny at the Port of Maputo. End Note.)
Traffickers, including MBS, Gulam Rassul, and the Ayoub
Family (Ref A) routinely bribe police, immigration and
customs officials to ensure that drugs can enter the country.
Domingos Tivane, Chief of the Customs Service, is a
significant recipient of bribes from narcotraffickers (Ref
B), and he recently purchased real estate in Maputo valued at
well beyond what his government salary should be able to
afford.

------------------------------------------
POLICE UNWILLING TO PURSUE MANY DRUG CASES
------------------------------------------

4. (S/NF) Senior members of the Mozambican Police (PRM) have
told Emboffs that potential CNT training would only help them
with small-scale traffickers, while other "big fish" would
remain too large to catch. Of the more than ten cocaine and
heroin seizures in 2009 at the Maputo airport, none have
resulted in prosecutions. A senior law enforcement official
has admitted to Emboffs that most drug seizures are not made
public and not prosecuted because police and customs
officials use such seizures to enrich themselves. Such
officials extract bribes, and may retain the drugs seized for
resale. Despite repeated requests, the Minister of Interior
(charged with overall responsibility for police and for
counter-narcotics) has refused to meet with the CDA to
discuss increased joint CNT efforts. The GRM recently raised
objections to an offer for a U.S. Department of Treasury
official to be embedded into the Financial Crimes Unit, after
initially agreeing to and supporting the offer.

---------------------------------------------
PROVINCIAL PORTS ATTRACTIVE FOR DRUG TRANSITS

MAPUTO 00000080 002 OF 002


---------------------------------------------

5. (S/NF) The port of Nacala in particular is believed to be
a major recipient of narcotics from Southwest Asia. In July
2009, Celso Correia, who is a principal in Insitec, Ltd, (a
company whose major shareholder is President Armando
Guebuza-septel), was installed as head of the Northern
Development Corridor (CDN) which includes the port of Nacala
and the northern rail network. Shortly thereafter, Ghulam
Rassul Moti, who has smuggled hashish and heroin into
northern Mozambique since at least 1993 (Ref B) greatly
reduced bribes to local Nacala and Nampula municipal
authorities and made the payments instead directly to senior
FRELIMO officials. Nampula Mayor Castro Serafim was reported
to be particularly irritated that these monthly payments had
been re-routed straight to higher-level FRELIMO leaders.

--------------------------------
NEW CASINO LAW CAUSE FOR CONCERN
--------------------------------

6. (S) In January, President Guebuza signed into law a new
"Casino Bill." Passed by the National Assembly (AR) in June
2009, the law relaxes restrictions on gambling in Mozambique,
reducing the minimum investment for a casino from $15 to $8
million, legalizing online gambling, and allowing slot
machines to be positioned in otherwise non-gambling
environments. The law also passes financial control of
casinos from the Ministry of Finance to the less rigorous
Ministry of Tourism. This bill was passed to encourage
tourism; however, given Mozambique's minimal financial
controls, the law will effectively reduce the barriers to
narcotraffickers looking to launder funds. Nazir Lunat, a
FRELIMO parliamentarian and influential imam in Maputo,
recently resigned from his position in the National Assembly
(AR) because of concerns over the law allowing casino
liberalizations.

-------------------------------------
USG SUPPORT HAS HAD POSITIVE OUTCOMES
-------------------------------------

7. (S) With USG support, there has been some progress in
combating drug trafficking. Using INL funds, Embassy Maputo,
working with the Embassy of Portugal, provided training to
border guards which resulted in the seizure of U.S. $2.5
million in cash and the arrest of two Pakistani smugglers
(Ref E). In mid-May 2009 police seized U.S. $5 million in
heroin at the Ressano Garcia border crossing into South
Africa. Employing 7-meter, rigid hull inflatable boats
donated by the DoD using Section 1206 funds, the Mozambican
navy has interdicted several drug shipments near the coast,
most recently in December.

------------------------------------------
COMMENT: COMPREHENSIVE CNT STRATEGY NEEDED
------------------------------------------

8. (S) Post looks forward to an upcoming INL visit to help
elaborate a comprehensive CNT strategy. USG interests in CNT
in Mozambique involve multiple USG departments, including
State, DoD, DoJ, DHS, and Treasury. Our CNT strategy must
first address ways to strengthen the GRM's political will to
address narcotrafficking, while preparing Mozambique with a
host of programs, to include strengthening of land and
maritime border security, professionalization of the police
force, educational programming for prosecutors on Mozambican
CNT laws already in place, and development of a financial
intelligence capability.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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