General Dino and the Attorney General’s Lies

On January 6 2012 I laid a criminal complaint with the Attorney General of the Republic of Angola, against the presidential triumvirate that comprises the current vice-president Manuel Vicente, the minister of state and head of the Intelligence Bureau at the presidency (Casa de Segurança), General Manuel Hélder Vieira Dias Júnior “Kopelipa”, and the latter’s main advisor, General Leopoldino Fragoso do Nascimento “Dino”. The charge that I laid was of suspected illegal enrichment and abuse of power.

The Attorney General’s office responded by initiating a preliminary inquiry, case number 06-A/2012-INQ, to verify the allegations about the trio’s business involvement that I made in my investigation “The Angolan Presidency: The Epicentre of Corruption”. As a result of that inquiry, the Attorney General’s Office acknowledged that the three men were shareholders in Grupo Aquattro. In less than three years, this group had come to dominate the Angolan economy, with holdings in sectors ranging from petroleum to supermarkets.

Obviously, the decision went in favour of the bosses, and could not have been any different.

Meanwhile, there is another detail that exposes a gross lie by the attorney general’s office, signed by the instructing deputy attorney-general Domingos Salvado André Baxe, and confirmed by the principal deputy attorney general in the decision to dismiss the case. It has to do with the group’s shareholding in Biocom (Angolan Bioenergy Company), in partnership with Sonangol and the Brazilian multinational Odebrecht.

According to the order issued by the attorney general’s office to dismiss the case: “The evidence shows that the accused, Manuel Domingos Vicente, General Manuel Hélder Vieira Dias Júnior and General Leopoldino Fragoso do Nascimento are not and have never been shareholders in the abovementioned company [Biocom], are not part of and have never been part of its structures and have never had executive functions in it, for which reason they could not have committed – and are not committing – acts of improbity amounting to illicit enrichment, and the alleged conflict of private interests with their role as public servants, as denounced by Rafael Marques de Morais, cannot be confirmed.”

The firm Cochan, part of the three men’s business empire, recently launched its website, in which it reveals that Biocom is among its “key investments”, alongside the supermarket chain Kero, the mobile phone operator UNITEL, the DT Group, and Puma Energy, which owns the Pumangol petrol station chain.

Among the business network the website reveals only a single name, that of General Leopoldino Fragoso do Nascimento, chief adviser to the Minister of State and the head of the Intelligence Bureau at the Presidency, who is listed as the founder and chairman of Cochan. On May 10 2010, General Nascimento started performing executive functions for Cochan, in Singapore. Four months later, President José Eduardo dos Santos appointed Nascimento as advisor to the Minister of State and head of Intelligence Bureau at the Presidency, by means of Presidential Decree 216/10. The bureau effectively controls, besides the presidential guard, the army, the police and the intelligence apparatus.

The statute of the Intelligence Bureau at the Presidency provides that advisors to the Minister of State and the head of the Intelligence Bureau at the Presidency “be serving generals of the Angolan Armed Forces, on a secondment”. Among other duties, the advisor carries out “studies, analysis and particular advice on matters of national security”.

However, since he was appointed, the general has simultaneously carried out public and private duties, in flagrant violation of the Law on Probity, which has been in force since June 2010. According to this law an act of improbity, leading to illicit enrichment, “accepting employment or carrying out consulting activities for a physical or juridical person who has interests liable to be affected or protected by action or omission in respect to the responsibilities of the public servant, during the activity”.

How can General Leopoldino Fragoso do Nascimento be simultaneously a public servant and the chairman of a group of private companies associated with Sonangol, tha national oil company? The answer is obvious. The general is protected by President dos Santos. He is above the law.This is why the attorney general’s office did not subvert the justice system by covering up the truth about the general’s role in Biocom. Justice is the president’s will, and the attorney general’s office exists for him to use on the slightest whim.