Cardoso's murder suspects charged

Maputo- Mozambique (PANA) -- Six months after the killing of Mozambique's best known journalist, Carlos Cardoso, the public prosecutor's office, at the end of its preliminary investigation, has charged six people with the crime.
According to Tuesday's issue of "Metical," the public prosecutor has charged businessman Ayob Abdul Satar and former bank manager Vicente Ramaya with ordering the killing of Cardoso, the late editor of the independent newsheet "Metical.
" Four others - Ayob's brother Momade Assife Abdul Satar, Anibal Antonio dos Santos Junior (Anibalzinho), Carlitos Rachid, and Manuel Fernandes - are accused of carrying out the murder.
Cardoso had investigated the business activities of the wealthy and powerful Abdul Satar family.
In particular, he had written relentlessly about the country's largest ever bank fraud, in which the equivalent of 14 million US dollars was siphoned out of the Commercial Bank of Mozambique (BCM) in 1996, on the eve of its privatisation.
The key figures accused of this fraud are members of the Abdul Satar family and Vicente Ramaya, who was in charge of the BCM branch where the fraud took place.
The BCM fraud has never come to court, thanks to high-level corruption in the attorney-general's office, also investigated by Cardoso.
A warrant has now been issued for the arrest of the attorney who was originally in charge of the BCM case, Diamantino dos Santos, whose whereabouts are currently unknown.
The Cardoso murder case now enters a new phase of investigation in which the defence lawyers are officially informed of the charges, and are given access to the case file.
They may request further investigations which they regard as useful for establishing the innocence of their clients.
This phase will last for three months, after which the prosecution will issue the definitive charge sheet, and deliver it to the investigating magistrate.
It is this magistrate who will decide whether the evidence against the accused is strong enough for the case to go to trial.
On Tuesday night, six months to the day since the murder, family, friends and colleagues of Carlos Cardoso will once again gather at the place where he was murdered, on Avenida Martires de Machava, in the inner Maputo suburb of Polana, to lay wreaths, and pay homage to him.

22 may 2001 18:07:00

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