Dos Santos: Nepotism and corruption in CNN Broadcast Deal

President José Eduardo dos Santos’s regime has made great efforts to present Angola to the world as a place of modernity, good governance and prosperity, and as a country that looks after its citizens. Official budget documents show that, for the 2012 fiscal year, Dos Santos has set aside has set aside about US$40 million from the presidency’s budget for an initiative run by his own son and daughter for promoting a positive image of Angola to the world.

A private Angolan company, Semba Comunicação, has borne the responsibility of improving the image of the Angolan regime since 2006. The company claims that soon after its launch it presented on CNN International “the campaign that changed the concept of African public relations at the level of the international media”: the “Angola, grow with us” campaign by the National Private Investment Agency (ANIP).

Out of the share of the presidential budget earmarked for the deal with Semba Comunicação, Dos Santos has allocated two specific items amounting to several million dollars for the company to promote Angola’s image through CNN International and TPA International – the latter being the international arm of the Angolan state broadcaster. The relationship between the President of the Republic, ANIP and Semba Comunicação raises two serious legal problems from the outset. First, Semba Comunicação is a company set up in 2006 by the president’s own children, namely Welwitschea José dos Santos, also known as Tchizé, and José Paulino dos Santos, also known as Coréon Du. Second, the president of ANIP, Maria Luísa Perdigão Abrantes “Milucha”, is their mother. Before taking up the presidency of ANIP, Milucha was the agency’s representative in the United States of America, at the time of the earlier publicity campaigns on CNN.

The presidential budget for the 2012 financial year allocates 1.5 billion Angolan Kwanzas (about US $17 million) to the regime’s publicity campaign that Semba Comunicação conducts through CNN The president’s children’s company is also responsible for the project on TPA International, to which José Eduardo dos Santos allocates from the presidency budget a sum of 2.1 billion Angolan Kwanzas (US $23 million) for the 2012 financial year.

Semba’s own statement on its website reveals that another of the company’s projects was the renewal of TPA’s “Channel 2” brand, which resulted in the invitation to develop the TPA Internacional brand. Such an invitation for the president’s children to run TPA Internacional, extended by the executive led by president Dos Santos, revealed an outright conflict of interest.

From a legal point of view, the president incurs the crime of corruption by favouring his children in their direct business dealings with the Presidency of the Republic (article 25, 1, a of the Law of Probity). The President of the Republic is also responsible before the law as chief of the Executive, of which he is a member (article 15, 2, a  of the Law of Probity). According to the Constitution, the president may be removed from office for the crimes of bribery, embezzlement and corruption (article 129, 1, b).

Milucha Abrantes also incurs the same crime, as a public servant who has maintained a contractual relationship between the public institution that she directs, and her children’s company. Her son and daughter, the owners of the company, admit on their own website that the relationship between Semba and ANIP is continuing with the bilingual campaign “Angola I Believe” / Angola Eu Acredito”.

José Eduardo dos Santos continues to manage public funds and the lives of Angolans with shocking arrogance and disregard for common sense. He commits acts of corruption in broad daylight, gives himself over to the abuse of power and drags the country into immorality.

Angolan citizens have a right and a duty to bring judicial, civic, moral and patriotic pressure to bear for the rapid dismissal of José Eduardo dos Santos from the office of the President of the Republic on the grounds of his incorrigible record of corruption.