Estácio Valoi & Luís Nhachote
For the surprise of all, above the law and urban development, in Pemba’s waterfront, a lustrous villa is being erected in an declared Tourist Interest Zone (ZIT) belonging to one of the labourers in the armed insurrection epopee against the Portuguese colonialism and first governor Cabo Delgado Province after the independence.
The inscription with the owners name is as crystal clear as the waters in Pemba Bay: Raimundo Domingos. It omits, however, the surname, Pachinuapa.
The place where the villa is being built, already with a roof slab and solidified structure, is part of a ZIT regulated by the Decree n. 77/2009 of 15 December, that is, in an Integrated Tourism Resort Zone (ZETI), for which the law seals this kind of constructions. The Investigative Journalism Centre (CJI), after investigating, tells the story of public interest.
The licensing contours
The building is becoming increasingly visible and will soon be finalized as can be inferred by the rhythm of construction. The previous municipality authorities, chaired by Tagir Carimo would have left the licensing request in bain-marie… and after the last municipal elections, license n. 193/DSU CP 2019 ‘gave legs’ to Permit (Alvará) no 48.030N OP1 2018.
CJI is in possession of information that all the procedures around the General’s construction, the general that gave his youth for freedom’s sake, takes comfort in ‘twilight areas’.
A source in Pemba told CJI that the General would have called Tagir Carimo, the mayor, to hand him his ID and show him the concerned space, without mentioning a word.
To CJI Tagir says that the municipal permit during the time of his governance was for the “rehabilitation of an existing house” and that the act of receiving the ID was not in the General’s presence. “The latter sent the document to the municipality so his identification details could be gathered.” The ex-mayor also told us that he is surprised “with the construction of a house in that area.”
Kingman says their role is to build
The SINGLE-FAMILY villa is being built by the company KINGMAN Moçambique, a branch from the Sanlon group. With its mother-headquarters in Madrid, Spain, it has been branching and strengthening in the country in the civil engineering sector. The company is registered in the Mozambique-Spain Chamber of Commerce.
Its representative in Mozambique is Jose María Sánchez-Castillo Lodare whom CJI contacted in the context of the Right to Information Law (Law no 31/2014). He replied by email to our questions which, because of their relevance, we transcribe in its integrity:
“In reference to the letter Y. Excises sent, we inform that Kingman and the building contractor, considering that the acquisition of licenses or administrative permits must by law be obtained by the construction owner, that the competent administrations for licensing are the same that issue them, in accordance with the Construction Licensing Regulation, Municipal Deportment and other applicable legislation. So it is not for the building contractor to answer the question asked, but for the official entities and the construction owner.
The Permit and the official document that allows the company to execute its normal contractor’s activities and its acquisition followed the statutory rules in the Building Exercise and Civil Engineering Consultant Regulation, approved by the Decree n. 94/2013 of 31 of December and the Ministerial Diploma n. 77/2015 of 22 of May, of the Ministry of Public Works, Habitation and Hydric Resources.
As for the building license, as you know, it is obtained by the construction owner at the relevant entities, according to the Private-Constructions Licensing Regulation, so it is for the liable entities mentioned in the regulation to obtain and adjudicate it and not to the building contractor.
With nothing further, we send our most cordial regards.
CJI was at the construction site. It grows exponentially before the silence of the Republic’s General Procuratorate, constitutionally the guardian of legality in the country.
The vast legislation rummaged by CJI indicates, in general, that the execution of construction projects like these require evaluations from the local authorities (District and Province), namely from the environmental sector (Provincial Directorate of Land, Environment and Rural Development), tourism sector (Provincial Directorate of Culture and Tourism) and local government (District and Municipal Administration).
This, not to mention the added procedures for projects that are to be implemented in a Tourism Interest Zone (ZIT), regulated by the Decree n. 77/2009 of 15 December or in an Integrated Tourism Zone (ZETI).
The inheritance(s) of Tagir Carimo
In 2018, the year in which the previous mayor’s mandate was ending, a controversial and faltering project was emerging in the coast of Pemba, as we could verify during our investigation work. It was a project to build the sidewalk – ‘Calçadão’ – in Pemba’s waterfront. A Public-Private Partnership (PPP) between the municipality and some business owners from Kenya established in Pemba, the project would have cost about 16 million Meticais.
About the ‘ calcadao’ its controversial construction at the time, we conducted a recorded interview where Tagir’s own words were, “No money went out.” All was paid by the municipality’s partner who, in exchange, could go ahead and ‘operate’ a location in front and less than 100 m from the beach – which goes against the law – by building restaurants and houses. “Some restaurants will happen, following municipal rules,” Tagir said.
Against all entities, from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, to civil society associations who were not previously queried, and without a permit, the construction in the waterfront was done under the auspices of the ex-mayor of Pemba, Tagir Assimo Carimo, supposedly in coalition with Shakil, a local business man.
According to some documents in our possession, the tutelage institutions unanimously failed Tagir’s project.
The National Institute of Tourism (INATUR) supervises the ZITs, a seafront that extends up to Murebué, with 1,700 ha, and all of Pemba’s bay, with 1,070 ha. The latter was declared a ZIT by the Council of Ministers, as well as by the government’s bulletin, the Boletim da República. On the other hand, the legislation is complemented by environmental protection regulations of the law of lands, which also defines up to what distance and what type of infrastructures constructions can be erected.
“Tagir approved the building”
Still according to Tagir on the controversial ‘ calcadao’ its construction , about the discontent, “some agree and some don’t, depending on the way each one interprets it. There are, naturally, some documents that can be added along the process. And it is in this process that we are now, to fill in one and other sheet of paper and annex it to the process.”
In a interview with CJI, Iolanda Almeida, Provincial Director of Culture and Tourism in Cabo Delgado, she told us, based on the legal devices approved between 2009 and 2010, that the definition and regulations of ZITs is. Those constructions should not have been done without the binding evaluation of INATUR, because they are unlawful.
“We, as the tourism sector, have the legislation that defines clearly the different zones. Any establishment or any building project that is to be inserted in a ZIT must have the evaluation of INATUR and we never gave one because we were not informed by the Municipality then, about this situation.”
At the time of the inauguration, Tagir added, “They have stamped. They have stamped and it is necessary to add one and another provision so the process can be wholly complete.” These affirmations were, however, refuted by the tutelage institutions, such as the Tourism, Environment and Maritime Directorates, as well as by INATUR.
“No institution agreed with the construction. Tagir made the decision,” said a source from the municipality.
Last year, in 2019, according to Director Almeida, a joint meeting including Pemba’s Municipality and all the other involved, was carried out with the objective of giving their evaluations and find plausible solutions.
“The municipality is doing its work. They have consulted several entities, including the Environment and Rural Development Directorate, Maritime Administration and others to find a solution for these constructions, which apparently were built without any authorization from these competent entities.”
And she added that, for already existing constructions, they can be rehabilitated or rebuilt, because they already existed. “I believe that Pemba’s Municipal Council approved these constructions. It will do its work and for sure ask for our evaluation. We had an enrolment of 8 to 9 establishments, projects, that initiated without the evaluation and we communicated these situations and await the outcome of these issues, Almeida said.
The fact is that all the tutelage institutions, from the Directorate of Land, Environment ans Rural Development, Maritime Administration and INATUR, gave a negative opinion as for the construction of the referred infrastructure, the ‘ calcadao.’
Other sources close to the ex-mayor make reference, in anonymity, to illicit payments, commissions by the thousands of Meticais, and support for Tagir his projects in Pemba as well as in Kenya.”
After the new mayor, a fellow comrade, took office, Pemba’s Municipal Council embargoed the construction of the house, restaurants ‘ calcadao’ with the exception the one in the gold seat. The General Raimundo Domingos Pachinuapa, in plain 21st century, where the rule of democratic law is an irrefutable truth, must imagine that because he took arms to expel the colonial rule and colonialism, he has the right to sit, ignore and kick the most basic law supremacy. The Republic’s General Procuratorate will have to abandon its position of silence and an outsider, because the fact that he held a gun and shot doesn’t give him the right to run over the nation!
“At least measures have been taken in relation to Tagir … but Pachinuapa continues with his golden seat.”
Mozambican Investigative Journalism Centre -http://www.cjimoz.org/