MAPUTO, March 25 (Reuters) - Mozambique has extended until April 28 an investigation into government-owned firms that hid $2 billion in loans, state media said on Saturday.
The Mozambican Attorney-General’s Office PGR said it proposed the latest extension to allow collecting of data from banks and other institutions in Mozambique and abroad, state media reported.
Debt-ridden Mozambique, one of the world’s poorest countries, is struggling to repay the loans which were not approved by parliament or disclosed publicly.
In November, Mozambique’s attorney general appointed multinational risk management firm Kroll to probe state firms that hid the loans from government and international creditors, a condition for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to resume aid talks with the war-scarred nation.
The IMF said this week it hoped the audit would conclude in the next couple of weeks and that the government would publish the results.
State media initially said Kroll was given until the end of February to deliver the audit report. That deadline was extended to the end of March and has now been pushed to April 28.
The discovery of the loans, received by state firms including Mozambique’s state-owned fishing company EMATUM, prompted the IMF to halt a loan last April and led to the collapse of its currency as well as investor confidence.
Until recently one of Africa’s strongest prospects, Mozambique now faces its biggest economic crisis since a 16-year civil war ended in 1992. (Writing by James Macharia; Editing by Julia Glover)