Ndambi Guebuza, the son of Mozambique’s ex-president Ndambi Guebuza and 18 others have gone on trial over the $2billion “tuna bonds” affair in the capital Maputo.
The former first family’s son, and others face charges of blackmail, embezzlement and money laundering in what has been described as Mozambique’s biggest post-independence corruption scandal.
It was learnt that Mr Guebuza and former members of the State Information and Security Service (Sise) are among those expected to appear as defendants in the case whose hearings will run until 1 September.
The trial is being held in a large canvas tent on the grounds of a maximum-security prison in the outskirts of the capital.
The city’s courtrooms were deemed too small for the scores of lawyers, 70 witnesses and 250 media workers who have been accredited to attend.
In the opening court session, the judge said all the accused must attend court in a prison uniform.
Between 2013 and 2014, Mozambique borrowed about $2bn but only disclosed most of the debt to the International Monetary Fund in 2016.
The money was allegedly used to buy a large tuna factory and a maritime security fleet, as well as to finance other deals involving companies in which the state is a leading shareholder.
The scandal plunged Mozambique into its worst financial crisis since independence in 1975 and also led to the suspension of budgetary aid to Mozambique by its external partners.
Former Mozambique Finance Minister Manuel Chang is also wanted over the scandal and is fighting extradition from South Africa. He denies any wrongdoing.