Mozambique: Businessman interrogated without warrant of arrest

The Maputo police detained a Mozambican businessman of Indian origin for about eight hours on Saturday, as part of the investigations into the wave of kidnappings in the capital, reports Tuesday’s issue of the independent daily “O Pais”.

The man, whose name was not released, was detained on his business premises, “Auto Hilux”, a company which sells vehicle spare parts. The detention generated panic because initially the Auto Hilux employees thought it was another case of kidnapping.

This was not surprising since the detention was undertaken by plain clothes members of the Criminal Investigation Police (PIC) who did not carry any arrest warrant or other official document that would explain what they were doing.

Uniformed police were called to the premises and eventually conformed that the men the employees believed were kidnappers were in fact from PIC.

The businessman says he was then taken to PIC offices where the investigators asked him if he knew certain citizens, and if he made payments by bank transfer abroad, and if so, for what purposes. He says that his lawyer was not allowed to attend the interrogation.

PIC then took all his personal and company documents and forbade him from leaving Maputo. He was also obliged to report to PIC at 09.00 the following morning.

On Monday, accompanied by his lawyer, Abdul Magid, the businessman went to the General Command of the police to demand an explanation and to see what charges, if any, are being pressed against him. Nobody could explain why he had been detained, and he was asked to await official police notification, in the event of any further development in the case.

Magid said he is now waiting for the documents the police should have presented when they detained his client – namely the arrest warrant, and the case number – so that he can prepare a defence.

Maputo city police spokesperson Orlando Modumane confirmed that the PIC members who detained the Auto Hilux owner are indeed investigating the kidnappings. But he admitted the procedure they used was incorrect, since they were not supposed to arrest him, merely take a statement from him.

According to Modumane, the police have enjoyed some success in an operation aimed against gangs of car thieves in the capital. Two members of one such gang, named as the brothers Jorge and Feliciano Chimondjo, were arrested last Wednesday.

But their accomplices, Rofino Massejo and Arone Alexandro, evaded the police and their current whereabouts are unknown.

Modumane said this group was responsible for a string of recent car thefts, and Wednesday’s arrests led to the recovery of one vehicle, a Toyota Runx.

Post published in: Africa News

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