Mozambican authorities may be intentionally delaying the commencement of Tunamar’s operations, a fishing firm owned by Ematum (51 per cent) and Erik Prince’s Frontier Services Group (49 per cent). Supposedly, undeclared business interest could be causing the delay.
The reasons for delaying Tunamar’s operations are not officially known, but it is alleged that some procedural issues have raised suspicions—one of them being security issues.
The alliance between the two parties began in late 2017, and since then the processes have been dragging on. The authorities demand a public tender for the exploration of the port of Maputo, the most important in Mozambique, after the Frontier Services Group submitted the project to request its development.
Erik Prince, owner of Frontier Services Group, has previously worked for the United States on massive projects. His, now defunct, Blackwater security company was involved in the killing of 18 people in Iraqi war, while serving the United States.
It is believed that, in the case of Mozambique, its real interest is to ensure maritime safety, especially in the Rovuma Basin, where US oil companies operate.
On the other hand, the contract could be associated with other “problematic” issues involving the US, such as the extradition of former Mozambican Finance Minister Manuel Chang, who opposed the North American oil companies in northern Mozambique.
Private security companies, like the Frontier Services Group, are very keen to win contracts in the Rovuma basin.
Mozambique’s government may be making certain concessions right now, around the case of debts and extradition, undermining the increasing pressure from Erik Prince.
The dossiers on the agreements are not in the public domain, although they involve issues of public interest, such as guarding the sovereignty. However, the security safeguards, normally used as an excuse for secrecy, will not minimize government’s mistrust on the subject.