Get AfricaFocus Bulletin by e-mail!
Print this page
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 Please note that many outdated links in this archived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 http://www.africaaction.org
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.
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
The periodic mailings from Joseph Hanlon are available by request
Carlos Cardoso Murder Trial
25 November 2002
AIM (Mozambique News Agency)
circulated by Joseph Hanlon (firstname.lastname@example.org)
FIRST WEEK OF TRIAL: LIVE BROADCASTS & CONFESSIONS
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
+ 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
"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
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