Proceeds of bribes placed in Jersey trust are returned to Mozambique

Jersey’s Attorney General Mark Temple and the Vice-Attorney General of Mozambique, His Excellency Alberto Paulo, have agreed to the return of £829,500 to the Republic of Mozambique.

OVER £800,000 in ill-gotten funds placed by a corrupt Mozambique civil servant in a Jersey trust are set to make their way back to the country to help combat financial crime.

Carlos Fragoso, formerly in charge of road and bridge maintenance in the southern African nation, set up Tolvex Trust in 1996 by stating that he was a civil engineer seeking to benefit his family with savings from his former earnings.

But the Royal Court found in 2013 that his funds were the proceeds of bribes.

A press statement from the Law Officers’ Department said that Jersey’s Attorney General, Mark Temple, and the Vice-Attorney General of Mozambique, Alberto Paulo, have agreed to the return of £829,500 to the Republic of Mozambique.

This is the first asset return arrangement entered into by Mozambique.

The statement continued: “During his [Fragoso’s] career he had held several high-profile positions, including the directorship of the National Directorate of Roads and Bridges and the presidency of the National Road Administration.

“In 2013, the Royal Court found that Fragoso had settled another Jersey trust using the same deception as to his employment and source of income.

“The court found that his assets were the proceeds of bribes paid to him by firms wanting to secure construction contracts in Mozambique.”

This led to suspicion that the Tolvex Trust might also contain tainted funds resulting from bribery and corruption.

The Mozambique authorities and the Island’s Economic Crime and Confiscation Unit in the Law Officers’ Department successfully applied for forfeiture of the funds held by the trust.

The returned assets will be used by Mozambican authorities to combat financial crime, by supporting the development and expansion of key enforcement agencies.

The funds will also be used to support the delivery of a five-day training course on international and judicial co-operation in criminal matters to sixty trainees drawn from all 11 provinces of Mozambique.

Mr Temple said: “I am delighted that Jersey has been party to Mozambique’s first asset return agreement, which will result in the strengthening of law enforcement and anti-corruption agencies in Mozambique.”

Mr Paulo said: “We are honoured to receive funds that were illicitly diverted from Mozambique and hidden in the Bailiwick of Jersey, which have been recovered as a result of exemplary co-operation with the authorities of the Bailiwick of Jersey.”

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