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Note: This document is from the archive of the Africa Policy E-Journal, published by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC) from 1995 to 2001 and by Africa Action from 2001 to 2003. APIC was merged into Africa Action in 2001. Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.

Mozambique: Cardoso Murder Trial Mozambique: Cardoso Murder Trial
Date distributed (ymd): 021125
Document reposted by Africa Action

Africa Policy Electronic Distribution List: an information service provided by AFRICA ACTION (incorporating the Africa Policy Information Center, The Africa Fund, and the American Committee on Africa). Find more information for action for Africa at

+++++++++++++++++++++Document Profile+++++++++++++++++++++

Region: Southern Africa
Issue Areas: +political/rights+


This posting contains updates on the closely watched trial in Mozambique of defendants accused of responsibility for the murder of leading investigative journalist Carlos Cardoso, who was assassinate two years ago this month.
[See> and>]

The case is being broadcast live on radio and television in Mozambique, and is drawing even more attention because of claims by two defendants that the son of President Joaquim Chissano was involved. President Chissano has declined to comment on the trial, saying through his press attache that legal proceedings should continue normally regardless of the allegations of involvement of his son. Last week, on the anniversary of his death, a street in Maputo was renamed after the slain journalist.

In additions to the sources indicated below, additional reports, in both Portuguese and English, are available on Moçambique On-Line at:

The periodic mailings from Joseph Hanlon are available by request from

+++++++++++++++++end profile++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Carlos Cardoso Murder Trial

25 November 2002

AIM (Mozambique News Agency)
circulated by Joseph Hanlon (


The trial is being broadcast live on Mozambican radio and TV and is being followed closely all over the country. The trial is being held in an air-conditioned marquee (a large tent of the sort used for parties) inside the walls of the maximum security prison in Machava, just outside Maputo. There is seating for 400 press and spectators and access is not difficult, although security is tight. The trial runs from 9 am to 4 pm, with only a short break.

The trial is heard by an investigating magistrate, Augusto Paulino, and four lay magistrates, who sit on a dais at the front of the tent. On the magistrates' right are the lawyers representing the public prosecutor and the two victims -- the family of the assassinated Carlos Cardoso and the injured driver, Carlos Manjate. On the magistrate's left are the court officials, who type up the court record on a manual typewriter, and the five lawyers representing the six defendants. The defendants stand facing the magistrates and are questioned by the magistrates; if the lawyers wish to ask questions, they put the questions to the magistrates, who then ask the defendants.

Observers have been impressed by the smooth running of the trial so far. The trial seems likely to continue for at least another month. There was no session on 22 November, the second anniversary of the assassination, when there were various ceremonies in Maputo, including the naming of a street after Carlos Cardoso.

Key points of the first four days of the trial include:

+ Two of the six accused unexpectedly confessed to being linked to the murder. Momande Satar, known as Nini, said he paid $46,000 to Anibal dos Santos Junior (Anibalzinho) to organise the murder. Manuel Fernandes (Escurinho) said he participated in the killing because he was promised $21,000 by Anibalzinho, but only received $1250.

+ Anibalzinho's mother is attending the trial and giving interviews, in which she admits her son was involved in the murder. Anibalzinho was allowed to escape from prison in August, and is being tried in absentia.

+ The 27-year old Nini admits to money laundering and illegal lending of large amounts of money, and claims to have lent $420,000 to the Polana Hotel casino.

+ The son of President Joaquim Chissano, Nyimpine (also spelled Nhympine), has been named by Nini and Escurinho as being behind the assassination. Although this has yet to be proven, evidence has already been presented to show that Nyimpine Chissano is involved with known criminals and in illegal financial dealings. (JH)

For more up to date daily reports: runs the daily AIM reports has references to other articles on the trial

Mozambique News Agency (London)

AIM Reports No.243, 18th November 2002

Cardoso Murder: Backgrounnd to the Trial

On 18 November the trial begins in Maputo of six men accused of murdering Mozambique's top investigative journalist, Carlos Cardoso, on 22 November 2000. It is the most important trial in the country since the acquittal, a decade ago, of the former chief of staff of the armed forces, Sebastiao Mabote, on coup plot charges.

Among the accused are two members of the powerful Abdul Satar business family - Momade Assife Abdul Satar (who goes by the nickname of "Nini"), and his brother Ayob Abdul Satar - and their close associate, former bank manager Vicente Ramaya.

Ramaya and the Satar family have been linked to the huge bank fraud through which the equivalent of $14 million was siphoned out of the country's largest bank, the BCM, on the eve of its privatisation in 1996. When the fraud was uncovered, serious corruption in the Attorney-General's Office meant that the case never came to court, and key members of the Abdul Satar family fled to Dubai.

Carlos Cardoso pursued the case tenaciously, particularly after a prominent deputy for the ruling Frelimo Party, Eneas Comiche, named the Satars and Ramaya from the parliamentary tribune in March 2000, and denounced the Attorneys involved in the case. The chain of events that this unleashed led to the sacking of Attorney-General Antonio Namburete, and all six of the assistant attorney-generals.

Cardoso not only demanded that those who defrauded the BCM be brought to justice - he also began investigating the Satars' other business activities. Ayob Satar owns the Unicambios chain of apparently legitimate foreign exchange bureaux, and several other Maputo shops - but there were strong suspicions that some of this property was acquired with BCM money.

According to the prosecution case, when the Satars and Ramaya decided to eliminate Cardoso, they recruited Anibal dos Santos Junior ("Anibalzinho") to organise the murder. He in turn picked Manuel Fernandes and Carlitos Rachide Cassamo.

On the night of the murder, Cardoso left the office shortly after 18.30. According to the prosecution, as the "Metical" Toyota pulled away, a red Citi-Golf driven by Anibalzinho followed it: in the back seat were Fernandes and Cassamo, the later cradling an AK-47 assault rifle that Nini Satar had provided.

A couple of hundred metres from the "Metical" office, the Citi-Golf pulled in front of the Toyota, forcing it to a halt. Cassamo allegedly opened fire, and eight bullets struck Cardoso, killing him instantly. Cardoso's driver, Carlos Manjate, was severely injured, with a bullet wound to the head, but he survived.

Under public pressure, the police investigation, after a shaky start, led to the arrest of Anibalzinho in Swaziland in February 2001. Over the next few days the other five were all picked up.

Delay after delay followed, largely because the defence lawyers were exploiting every loophole to avoid a trial. Appeals were launched, up to the Supreme Court, against the case going to trial, and Nini Satar at one stage even attempted to have the judge, Augusto Paulino, replaced, on the grounds that he was "biased".

Everything was prepared for a trial in September 2002 - when, on 1 September, somebody unlocked the padlocks on Anibalzinho's cell in the Maputo top security prison, and this key suspect walked free. The former head of the Maputo Criminal Investigation Police, Antonio Frangoulis, had warned Interior Minister Almerino Manhenje well in advance that Anibalzinho might try to escape. Despite this, no measures were taken to tighten security.

The commanders of the three police units guarding the prison that night were arrested - but it is widely believed that the order to release Anibalzinho came from somebody higher up. Since then Anibalzinho has mocked his pursuers, sending messages containing death threats to Frangoulis's mobile phone.

The court had to wait 60 days, to give Anibalzinho a chance to surrender. He did no such thing, and now he will be tried in absentia.

Over the last few weeks other names have floated to the surface. Nini Satar has allegedly claimed that he was only a middleman in the assassination - among those he named as giving the instructions are Namburete and other former attorneys, a former industry minister, Octavio Muthemba, and Nyimpine Chissano, businessman son of President Joaquim Chissano.

It is too late to put these names into the case that opens on 18 November, but Judge Paulino has said they will be questioned - and, if these is any evidence against them, a second, autonomous case against them will be opened.

DAY 3 ---------

Cardoso Murder: Nini Satar Accuses Nyimpine Chissano

Maputo, 20 Nov (AIM) - One of the key suspects in the murder of Mozambique's top investigative journalist, Carlos Cardoso, on Wednesday admitted paying for the assassination, but claimed that the money came from Nyimpine Chissano, the oldest son of President Joaquim Chissano.

On the third day of the murder trial, Momade Assife Abdul Satar (better known as "Nini") told the court that he had paid about 500 million meticais, and 250,000 South African rands (a total of about 46,000 US dollars at today's exchange rates) to Anibal dos Santos Junior ("Anibalzinho"), the fugitive who is accused of heading the hit squad that murdered Cardoso on 22 November 2000.

He claimed he had made these payments at the request of Nyimpine Chissano, who had come to him in early November 2000 and asked for a loan of 1.2 billion meticais.

An agreement was reached, according to Satar, whereby this money was paid to Anibalzinho, and Chissano Jr repaid Satar with pre-dated cheques.

Asked why Chissano Jr needed this money in such a hurry, Satar replied "I didn't ask him". He claimed it was only when he was arrested that he found out, from Anibalzinho, that the money was the payment for a contract killing.

He had kept the story to himself for so many months, because Anibalzinho told him in prison "Don't worry - we'll soon get out". He said Anibalzinho assured him "it was the President's son who ordered the murder, so we'll be released".

He finally realised this was untrue when Anibalzinho escaped from the top security prison in September. "I was very worried at the escape, and felt abandoned", Satar said - and so he then decided to tell the authorities what he knew.

But the minutes of his interrogation after Anibalzinho's escape mention not only Nyimpine Chissano, but also his mother, the first lady, Marcelina Chissano. He promised at that interrogation to produce evidence at the trial.

The judge, Augusto Paulino, asked him to do so. "You said you would provide proof. Here's your opportunity", he said.

The evidence Satar offered were the pre-dated cheques signed by Nyimpine Chissano. But these were not yet in the case file: one of Satar's relatives brought them to the court later in the day. He could produce no evidence at all against Marcelina Chissano.

During one of his police interrogations, Satar had also mentioned former industry minister Octavio Muthemba, former attorney-general Antonio Namburete, and two other senior attorneys as among those who ordered Cardoso's death.

But now he retracted this statement. He had mentioned their names, as people "rumoured" to have been involved, during "a talk" with riot police commander Zacarias Cossa.

An incredulous judge Paulino interrupted. "Commander Cossa had a law officer next to him typing down all your answers, and you think that was just a talk ?", he asked

Satar repeatedly claimed he was "a businessman on my own account", as well as an unpaid supervisor at Unicambios, the chain of foreign exchange bureaux owned by his brother and co-accused, Ayob.

But when the court asked what companies he ran, it became clear that Nini Satar's "business" is lending money for short periods at high interest rates. He is, in short, a usurer. He admitted he had no licence, or any form of authorisation, for this business.

He said his only business with Nyimpine Chissano was lending him large sums of money. He said that when Nyimpine "wanted to change derisory amounts, such as five or ten thousand dollars, into meticais, he used Unicambios, and that was nothing to do with me".

The casual description of 10,000 dollars as a "derisory" sum caused gasps of astonishment in the courtroom. Asked whether he had cashed any of Chissano Jr's cheques, Satar said "some cheques were cashed, but others were not because Nyimpine said he was in financial difficulty".

The court also wanted to know whether Satar had lent large sums of money to the Polana Casino, again in exchange for pre-dated cheques. He claimed that the ten billion meticais (about 420,000 US dollars) involved was lent by a South African associate named Bachir Abdullah, and his job was just to collect the repayment from the Casino in exchange for a commission.

"I can see there's a lot of trafficking in foreign exchange going on", remarked the judge. Repeatedly the court asked Satar to explain the origin of his wealth. Where did he acquire the money to make such large loans ?

He claimed he had capital of his own, and had also raised money by selling his share of Unicambios to his brother in 1996 (when he was just 22 years old). "Does not this money come from the holes in the banks ?", asked the judge. (He was referring to the 1996 fraud, in which the equivalent of 14 million dollars was stolen from the country's largest bank, the BCM. Satar is one of the people accused of defrauding the BCM, and Carlos Cardoso had written repeatedly about the case.)

Satar's evasive answers about his wealth meant that Tuesday's hearing lasted much longer than expected, and it proved impossible to complete the interrogation. Satar will continue giving his evidence on Thursday. (AIM) pf/ (891)

Cardoso Murder: Definitive Ruling on Trial Broadcasts

Maputo, 21 Nov (AIM) - Augusto Paulino, the judge presiding in the Carlos Cardoso murder trial, on Thursday refused to re-impose a ban on live broadcasts of the trial proceedings, and insisted that he would leave such matters entirely up to the media.

On Monday, the first day of the trial, Paulino did ban live broadcasts. But on Wednesday he lifted the ban, saying that he could not resist the public pressure for live broadcasts.

On Thursday morning the public prosecutor's office asked him to reconsider. The prosecutor, Dr. Mourao, said that live broadcasts meant that witnesses (who are excluded from the court room before they give their evidence) would have full access to the proceedings.

He urged the judge to ban live broadcasts, and to restrict what parts of the trial radio and television could show, even in later broadcasts. Paulino replied that to impose this sort of reporting ban was like "trying to stop the wind with your hands". When a public trial of this nature was held, "whether we like it or not, the media are going to continue to broadcast it".

Furthermore, constant arguments about live broadcasts were diverting the court from its main duty of examining the evidence. As for influencing witnesses, he pointed out that witnesses are on oath, and they have a duty to tell the truth. Regardless of what they might have seen on television, "they are not authorised to tell lies".

Paulino decreed that as from now, there will be no further discussion of live broadcasts. His Wednesday ruling would stand, with one amendment: when witnesses (rather than the accused) are called, the television cameras would be asked, for security reasons, not to show their faces.

"We will leave it up to the media to assess the situation", said Paulino. He would impose no ban. (AIM) pf/ (313)

Cardoso Murder: Chissano Says He Will Not Interfere

Maputo, 19 Nov 2002 (AIM) - Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano on Tuesday said he prefers to make no comment on the alleged involvement of his oldest son, Nyimpine, in the murder of the country's top investigative journalist, Carlos Cardoso.

At the trial of the six men charged with the murder, one of the accused, Manuel Fernandes, claimed he was told that the person who ordered the killing was Nyimpine Chissano.

The president's press attache, Antonio Matonse, told AIM that Chissano "does not wish to make any comment on this subject".

"The President of the Republic would not like any comment he might make to influence the trial in any way. What the President wants is justice", said Matonse.

He said that Chissano wishes the trial to continue normally, regardless of the mention made of his son. (AIM) gm/pf (143)

Street Named After Carlos Cardoso

Agencia de Informação de Mocambique (Maputo)
November 22, 2002

A previously unnamed street in the Maputo suburb of Polana-Canico on Friday received the name of Carlos Cardoso, the country's top investigative journalist, who was murdered exactly two years ago.

Cardoso's two children, his 13 year old son Ibo and seven year old daughter Milena, unveiled the name plaques at each end of the street.

Overcome with emotion, and holding back the tears, Cardoso's widow, Nina Berg, spoke of her husband's love for Maputo, and described the naming of the street as "a lovely gesture".

This street was not chosen by accident. It is one of the few Maputo streets that is neither a dirt track nor a tarred road. Instead it has been build out of small blocks of cement - a method that Cardoso, when he was a member of the elected Maputo Municipal Assembly, always defended as a cheap and efficient alternative to asphalt.

The streets built with this method have lasted: unlike the tarred roads, they are not full of potholes, and are properly drained. Maintenance of these roads is cheap, and building them is labour intensive.

For these reasons Cardoso favoured them, and the building companies, which regularly defraud the Mozambican state with their shoddy work, abhor them.

The Friday inauguration was the work, not of the City Council, but of civil society organisations. The name plaques were also a civil society initiative, and no municipal funds were used.

At midday, as part of the commemorations of the second anniversary of Cardoso's death, an exhibition of painting and sculpture was opened at the headquarters of the Mozambican Journalists' Union (SNJ).

At the same time the Maputo representation of the European Union announced a "Carlos Cardoso Prize", to be awarded to the best article or series of articles published by journalists working in Mozambique in the last two years, that promote "democracy and its values".

The prize money is 500 euros (500 dollars), and entries must be submitted by 21 January 2003. The jury consists of four people who were friends and colleagues of Cardoso: jurist Abdul Carimo, photographer Ricardo Rangel, writer Mia Couto and journalist Fernando Lima.

At the ceremony, Carimo read a letter from Ibo and Milena, in which the two children declared "For us it is very important to know who killed our father, and for them to be sentenced, but this can never replace him - he will never return to live with us".

"He wanted for us, and for all the children of Mozambique a life and a future of justice, free of poverty and crime, where everybody could live well and without fear", the letter said. Cardoso, his children recalled, "used to write, talk, discuss, sing, play, dance and paint. His spirit used all forms to say what it wanted. But journalism was his main art.

Journalism wasn't work for him - it was his life".

Ibo and Milena urged Mozambican journalists "to do everything to continue the unfinished work of our father - and not to rest until we know the entire truth about his death. That is the most important way of paying homage to the memory of Carlos Cardoso".

This material is being reposted for wider distribution by Africa Action (incorporating the Africa Policy Information Center, The Africa Fund, and the American Committee on Africa). Africa Action's information services provide accessible information and analysis in order to promote U.S. and international policies toward Africa that advance economic, political and social justice and the full spectrum of human rights.

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