WFP officials suspected of embezzling humanitarian funds in the center of the country

The Sofala Provincial Anti-Corruption Office announced Tuesday the opening of a case against two employees of the World Food Program (WFP) in the city of Beira, suspected of embezzling eight million meticals.

"They made withdrawals through checks on the institution's accounts and introduced the amounts into their respective property spheres," Anastácio Matsinhe, spokesman for the Provincial Office for the Fight against Corruption in Sofala, said during a press conference in Beira City.

According to the source, the authorities have preventively detained one person and the other, a superior, is at an uncertain location after resigning from the agency.

"The acts committed by these officials constitute the crime of embezzlement," adds the spokesman, adding that the arrested official confesses to having withdrawn the amounts, although she believes that the amount was given in full to the other official now at large.

According to the source, if proven in court of their involvement in the embezzlement, WFP officials can be punished with sentences between 8 and 12 years.

"These employees are equivalent to public servants, and WFP is an institution linked to the United Nations Organization, of which Mozambique is part and which is a public law organization", emphasized Anastácio Matsinhe, adding that it was the institution itself that reported the disappearance of the funds.

Contacted by Lusa, WFP in Mozambique said that the institution has a "zero tolerance policy regarding the embezzlement of resources", considering that "all accusations are rigorously investigated".

"WFP takes all complaints seriously and we have mechanisms in place to deal with misconduct at all levels," the agency said in a reaction note sent to Lusa.

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