South African company OTT Technologies on Tuesday admitted breaking customs regulations in the import of components for the UN armored cars assembled in its factory, and apologized for the confusion it has caused to the Mozambican public, according to the state news agency AIM
The vehicles bearing the UN logo arrived in the capital city of Maputo last week, causing speculations that the vehicles were to be used in ending the conflict between Mozambican government forces and the opposition Renamo gunmen in central Mozambique.
The Mozambique Tax Authority (TA) announced on Monday night that the factory, which assembled these cars in the southern Mozambican city of Matola, had broken fiscal rules, since some of the components it imported did not obey customs procedures.
The factory, OTT, is the local subsidiary of the South African company OTT Technologies, AIM said.
Apart from the neglect of fiscal rules, OTT also admitted in its statement that they did not receive "prior authorization from the Ministry of Defense for the circulation of these vehicles," thus causing a public panic.
The Mozambican government had to explain that the vehicles were not intended for operations inside Mozambique, but were to be exported.
Now all the vehicles have been seized by the tax authorities. Six are in Maputo port, and the rest are on the OTT premises, where they are awaiting total regularization of their tax and customs situation.
The report said the vehicles are intended to join the UN peacekeeping operation in Mali (MINUSMA).
The operation is funded by the United States. The U.S. government has agreed to buy armored cars, and other crucial equipment from seven African countries, including Mozambique, at a cost of 173 million U.S. dollars, for use by MINUSMA. Endi