Crooked cops helped Cardoso's killer escape

Police in Mozambique helped the convicted murderer of an investigative journalist escape from jail earlier this month, the attorney general said on Thursday.

Anibal Antonio dos Santos (33) better known as Anibalzinho, broke out of Maputo’s maximum security prison on May 10 while serving a 28-year sentence for organising the murder of journalist Carlos Cardoso in November 2000.

The escape came as a Maputo court prepared to announce the verdict in the trial of 20 people accused of being involved in defrauding the Banco Comercial de Mocambique of $14-million (12-million euros). Cardoso had been investigating the case when he was murdered.

Attorney General Joaquim Madeira said it was the second time that members of the national police force in the southeast African country had helped Dos Santos escape.

“They facilitated his escape once again as in the first case,” said in Madeira.

“We are now investigating to find out exactly at which level of hierarchy the police is involved.”

Four policemen have been detained in connection with Dos Santos’ latest jailbreak.

Dos Santos escaped once before in September 2002 and was captured over a year later in South Africa.

Seven policemen were detained in connection with the first escape but were acquitted after a court found there was not enough evidence to convict them.

The Maputo Judicial Court is expected to hand down a verdict on Tuesday in the fraud case at Banco Comercial de Mocambique, Mozambique’s biggest financial scandal.

Among those facing sentences are Vicente Ramaya, former manager of the BCM branch where the fraud was orchestrated and the Satar brothers, Momad and Ayob.

Ramaya and the Satars are already serving sentences of between 23 and 24 years for their role in the murder of Cardoso. - Sapa-AFP

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