/ 1 January 2002

How Carlos Cardoso was murdered

The man charged with killing Mozambican investigative reporter Carlos Cardoso told a court on Monday that the murder was ordered by the eldest son of President Joaquim Chissano.

Carlitos Rachide said as he pleaded guilty that he was asked to kill Cardoso by one of his co-accused, Anibal Antonio dos Santos, alias Anibalzinho, who mysteriously escaped from the Maputo maximum

security prison in September.

”Anibalzinho told me that Nyimpine Chissano had ordered Carlos Cardoso’s murder on promises of large sums of money,” Rachide said.

”I was personally promised a house plus 700-million meticais (about $30 000) and that the money would be paid by a big boss, Nyimpine,” Rachide said.

Cardoso was gunned down in Maputo in November 2000 as he investigated the disappearance of about $14-million from the main state bank BCM prior to its privatisation in 1996.

Rachide said the plot against the prominent journalist, who was investigating a major banking scandal, began in July 2000. Also on the list of victims, he said, was former customs director Pedro


Rachide, the third defendant to allege Nyimpine Chissano’s involvement in the crime at the long-awaited trial, said he had only received 77-million Meticais, 20-million of which was paid by the president’s son through Anibalzinho.

”I received 20-million Meticais from Anibalzinho, from a sum of around 100-million I saw Anibalzinho with my own eyes receiving from Nyimpine Chissano,” Rachide said.

Rachide said he saw the head of state’s son three times following the shooting. He added that Anibalzinho’s mother, Teresinha Mendonca, had

telephoned him in jail on a cellphone sent to him for the purpose, asking him not to mention Nyimpine Chissano’s name under any circumstances.

She also told the prisoner she had his money.

Rachide also alleged Anibalzinho’s mother knew all about her son’s role in the killing and the whereabouts of the two firearms used in the crime, a Makarov pistol and an AK-47 assault rifle.

Rachide said he regretted his part in the murder.

”I killed a man and not a gazelle. I apologise for the crime that I have committed,” he told the court.

Last week two other suspects gave testimonies alleging that Nyimpine Chissano ordered the journalist’s murder. Six men are accused of plotting and carrying out the reporter’s murder. Anibalzinho is being tried in absentia.

In addition to investigating the banking scandal Cardoso had been vocal in denouncing illegal schemes in which Mozambican trade was used as a cover for a number of shady deals, including some involving drugs. – Sapa