Zofimo Muiuane, the husband of Valentina Guebuza, daughter of former Mozambican president Armando Guebuza is arraigned in a court in Maputo, Mozambique, Dec. 18, 2017. File picture: Xinhua/Mauro Vombe

Maputo – The Maputo City Court on Tuesday sentenced businessman Zofimo Muiuane to 24 years imprisonment for the murder of his wife, Valentina Guebuza, daughter of former Mozambican President, Armando Guebuza, on 14 December 2016.

The court also ordered him to pay 50 million meticais (about 840,000 US dollars) in compensation to the Guebuza family.   

The court found Muiuane guilty of two other crimes, and sentenced him to 12 years imprisonment for the illegal possession of firearms, and eight years for the falsification of an official document. 

The forged document refers to a South African passport found in Muiuane’s possession, in the name of “Washington Dube”, but bearing Muiuane’s photograph.

The prison sentences will be served simultaneously, since, under normal circumstances, 24 years is the maximum prison term under Mozambican legislation.

In his defence, on December 18, the first day of the trial, Muiuane painted himself as a spy in the service of Mozambique’s Intelligence and Security Service, SISE. 

Muiuane insisted that the South African passport was not false, but he could give no details “in order to preserve the integrity of the State”.

But eventually, he claimed that the document had been given to him in 2002 by SISE “for a job”, using the pseudonym of Washington Dube. 

Muiuane was thus making the extraordinarily serious claim that the Mozambican security service forges South African official documents. 

Nobody from SISE was called as a witness to confirm or deny that Muiuane had worked as a spy.

The court rejected Muiuane’s claim that Valentina shot herself accidentally. His defence was that, in a bitter argument between them, Valentina pulled out a gun and pointed it at him. 

He then supposedly tried to disarm her, and in the struggle she pulled the trigger and shot herself.

This account failed to explain how Valentina was shot twice, and was contradicted by the forensic and ballistics evidence, which showed that the gun could not have been fired at point blank range.

Muiuane’s story was completely different from the one he told the police shortly after his arrest, when he made a full confession in the presence of his lawyer, Amadeu Uqueio. Witnesses also recalled Muiuane saying, on the fatal night, “I did it, I did it. She offended me”.

Uqueio announced that his client will appeal against the verdict and sentence.  The defence insists that the shooting was accidental, and that the evidence to the contrary is flawed.

Independent Foreign Service