Mozambique kingpin feels Obama’s wrath

Mohamed Bachir Suleman, a rich Mozambican businessman with strong links to the country’s ruling party, is beginning to feel the consequences of being on the US Treasury Department’s list of drug barons, the so-called Kingpin Act.

Following US President Barack Obama’s designation of Suleman as a “large-scale drug trafficker in Mozambique” on June 1, three banks have closed their branches in Suleman’s MBS Shopping Centre in downtown Maputo.

In a press release, the US Treasury described Suleman’s businesses as “specially designated narcotics traffickers … owned or controlled by [Mohamed Bachir] Suleman”. Under US law, any assets the businesses have are frozen and US citizens are barred from dealing with those individuals.

While none of the banks involved — including the London-based Barclays Bank and Mozambique’s two largest banks, Millenium Bim and BCI — have distanced themselves from Suleman, their closures come less a month after the American accusations against Suleman.

ATMs in the MBS Shopping Centre have also been closed making shopping harder for the centre’s clients. Suleman has also been asked to remove his youngest son from the American School in Maputo.

Suleman, a holder of five Mozambican passports with various spellings of his name, has rejected the accusations and says he is innocent.

Henrik Lomholt Rasmussen is information officer for the Danish Association for International Cooperation ActionAid Mozambique.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.


Judge trashes entire lockdown regime as constitutionally flawed

The high court ruling will delight gatvol South Africans but is unlikely to stand the test of time

The backlogs, denials and future of testing Covid-19

The National Health Laboratory Services finally admitted to a bottleneck last week, after denying there were any issues since April. According to the service, the backlog of 80 000 tests started in the first week of May

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday