Sonangol’s Hotel Bills don’t Add Up

The national oil company Sonangol, which is the largest state-owned company, has been regarded internationally as an oasis of competence and good management practice in Angola. At the same time, Sonangol has also been accused from abroad of being the main vehicle for the looting and disappearance of billions of dollars in oil revenues. However, Angolans themselves need to pay closer scrutiny to the current management of Sonangol, which supplies about half of the funds that make up the country’s annual state budget.

In 2010, Sonangol picked up a bill of over US $1 million for nine days’ worth of accommodation and expenses at the Suite Hotel Maianga in Luanda. The hotel bills (see the table) amounting to US $1,346,022.50 were paid through Banco Africano de Investimentos (BAI), of which Sonangol is the main shareholder, with an 18.5 percent share.

The three-star hotel has 54 rooms including two executive suites and has been open to the public since its inauguration in 2009, according to the reception staff. The state news agency, Angop, names Sonangol as the owner of the hotel.

Hypothetically speaking, even if Sonangol had occupied the entire hotel for nine days and paid the maximum price of a king room (US $450) for each of the rooms, the bill would have come to US $218,700, including breakfast. Catering costs cannot account for the rest of the bill: the restaurant at the Suite Hotel Maianga is small and modest, with prices that are reasonable by Luanda standards.

Sonangol must explain why, despite having paid for the education of thousands of Angolans in Western and other foreign universities, it appears incapable of performing simple addition and multiplication sums with the public money entrusted to it.

Several calls to the media and the public relations office at Sonangol in an attempt to seek clarification were met with the same response: ‘The boss is in a meeting.’

Day / 2010 Receipt numbers Cost in US Dollars Total
2 June 1332/SHM/2010 150,731.60  
2 August 1187/SHM/2010 to 1236/SHM/2010  255,370.00


4 August 1245/SHM/2010    33,000.00  
5, 6, 13 August 1270/SHM/2010 et al. 219,073.00  
17 August 1331/SHM/2010 to


19 September 1472/SHM/2010 to


21 September 1529/SHM/2010 137,297.90