© Solidar Suisse
Zürich – 17. September 2019

Petition zum Schuldenskandal wurde an die Credit Suisse übergeben

© Solidar Suisse

Im Frühsommer hat Helvetas die Credit Suisse aufgefordert, Mosambik die Schulden zu erlassen. Die Petition wurde nun an die Bank übergeben.

Dear Mr. Rohner
Dear Mr. Thiam

More than five months after being hit by two devastating cyclones, Mozambique still struggles with the aftermath of the catastrophe. Millions of people have lost their homes and try to survive under very difficult circumstances.  As one of the world’s least developed countries, Mozambique is in desperate need of funds to alleviate people's suffering and support reconstruction.

However, the country is facing an enormous debt and has had to temporarily declare its insolvency – on the back of the long-suffering population. A large part of this debt, two billion US dollars, goes back to the illicit allocation of loans from Credit Suisse and the Russian bank VTB Capital. The official purpose of the money was to modernize the coastal protection and tuna fishing fleet to boost the Mozambican economy. But the transaction was smuggled past Parliament and the National Bank of Mozambique, and the money went to three semi-state companies. What’s more, a portion of the money simply disappeared. But because the state has guaranteed the loans, it must pay off the debt and the related fees – rather than providing emergency aid following the cyclones. The UN, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund estimated the cost of reconstruction at around two billion USD – which is almost exactly the amount of the loan.

According to the Kroll report, Credit Suisse required the fulfilment of three conditions to grant the loans: the approval of the parliament; the examination of the transaction by an administrative court in Mozambique, and the information of the International Monetary Fund on the borrowing. Although none of these conditions were met, Credit Suisse released the loans directly to Privinvest – thus violating its own due diligence in granting loans.

Therefore, more than 6000 people from Switzerland as well as more than 100’000 people in Mozambique along with the Budget Monitoring Forum Mozambique, Helvetas, KEESA among others demand Credit Suisse to cancel Mozambique’s debt, including interest rates and fees. By granting the very problematic loan, Credit Suisse has violated its due diligence obligation and plunged an already poor country further into misery.

While we recognize Credit Suisse’s openness for dialogue with the Budget Monitoring Forum following the AGM in April, we also notice that no significant measures were taken since then. Given the prolonged plight of the Mozambican population, we therefore call upon Credit Suisse to heed the call of the UN and to cancel Mozambique’s illegal debts, including accrued interest and fees totaling more than $1.1 billion. It should be contractually guaranteed that the repayments are used for social and humanitarian purposes to assist Mozambique in overcoming the impacts of this natural disaster.

The Mozambican population must not be punished for the illegal loans contracted by a few government officials in collusion with Credit Suisse bankers and Privinvest. The people of Mozambique should not pay for omission by Credit Suisse in granting the loans and for the system failure in the due diligence process on the part of Credit Suisse which created the perfect conditions for this fraud to take place. Rather than servicing an illicit debt, the money must be used for saving lives and ensuring a future for millions of people.