SINSE and Public Prosecutor Protect a Pedophile in Cuango

A complaint of pedophilia has been lodged with the Office of the Attorney General against the secretary of diamond-rich Cuango municipality, in the province of Lunda-Norte. The father of the victim – a girl of 13 at the time – is accusing the local public prosecutor of protecting the secretary, and the local head of the State Intelligence and Security Service (SINSE) of attempting to suppress the case.

The background to the case

In September of 2013, the municipal administration organized a food and drinks fair [politically known as cultural marathons throughout the country] in the town of Cuango. During the fair, one of those responsible for organizing the event, the secretary of the Cuango municipality, Cândido Daniel Sampaio,37, offered to buy ice cream for two cousins who were part of his prayer group in the Church of the Seventh Day Adventists. The ice cream vendor was a certain distance away, and Sampaio suggested that they drive there, accompanied by one of his colleagues. On the way, they took a detour and parked at the water treatment plant, where the two men decided to separate, each taking a cousin. One of the girls was only 13 years old that month. She stayed in the car with Cândido Daniel Sampaio.

Her cousin, a bit older, resisted the advances of the secretary’s colleague. When they arrived home later, she told her uncle, José Adelino Txizungo, that the secretary had raped his daughter.

José Adelino Txizungo and Cândido Daniel Sampaio happen to be 3rd year classmates studying Pedagogy, with a specialty in primary education, at the Superior Polytechnic Institute of Cuango. They also attend the same church, as members of the Church of the Seventh Day Adventists. Overcome with rage, José Adelino Txizungo asked for a meeting with the accused, to check his niece’s story, which his daughter confirmed. “I asked him if he had ever interfered with my daughter. He nervously admitted that he had,” the father recalls.

The next day, on October 5, 2013, he came home and his daughter was not there. He knew that the secretary had taken her without parental consent.

Two days later, the secretary – who is the third highest-ranking authority in the municipal administration, after the head and his deputy – arrived at the Txizungo’sfamily home, without the girl, and with an official delegation.

This delegation was made up of secretary Sampaio; the municipal delegate of SINSE, José dos Santos Tanqui “Zeca;” two SINSE agents, Paulino Mutondeno and Carlos Casanguie; a municipal council secretary, known only as Tecas; and the fiscal head of Cuango’s local government, Paciência Jacinto.

“At first, the SINSE officer, Zeca, said that they had come to discuss a simple case involving a man and a woman,” the father recalls.

José Adelino Txizungo tells how he went to the bedroom to get his daughter’s identity card to prove her date of birth – September 22, 2000 – to the state security officer.

“I told him that what he had said was offensive. My daughter was a girl, a doll, andnot a woman. I asked him if this was a woman’s affair or rape?” José Adelino Txizungo recalls.

According to the father, the SINSE officer apologised. “Then, the SINSE officer pleaded with me not to lodge a complaint with the police or the District Attorney, because the secretary was willing to take responsibility for the girl”.

In a telephone conversation with Maka Angola, the SINSE delegate José dos Santos Tanqui “Zeca” denied having attended the meeting. “He [José Adelino Txizungo] is talking nonsense. He feels insulted and is looking for somewhere to complain. Was he advised or coerced? I was not at that meeting.”

Sergeant Sawa, a member of the Municipal Command of the National Police, wasalso present at the meeting, as a friend of the family. He confirms the presence of the SINSE officer, the two SINSE operatives and two other members of the local administration: “Mr. Zeca spoke first. Txizungo felt intimidated at the presence of a SINSE officer in his home”.

According to Sergeant Sawa’s testimony, after the SINSE official’s plea, the secretary then read a prepared written statement: “Mr. Dani [Cândido Daniel Sampaio] made a voluntary commitment to take charge of the child’s education and to marry her. He also said: `I will buy her a house until we can make a home together.`”

At this point, according to the same National Police officer, corroborated by other witnesses, the SINSE officer explained to the offended father that “there was no reason to be anxious.”

“I was very, very anxious and Mr. Zeca said it was a good thing Mr. Sampaio had taken my daughter away until I calmed down. The secretary rented a house on the other side of the river, almost in the bush, where he kept my daughter as his lover and with the protection of SINSE,” the father denounces.

Not resigned to the situation, a few months later, José Adelino Txizungo went to get his daughter back, claiming that her living conditions were terrible and that she was very isolated during pregnancy.

He approached the deputy municipal administrator of Cuango, João Bernardo, to denounce the secretary and plead for justice. “Mr. Bernardo advised me to lodge a complaint with the District attorney,” the father said.

He made an unsuccessful attempt at cutting all relations between his daughter and the high-ranking council official.

When questioned, Cândido Daniel Sampaio told Maka Angola by phone that “the case is with the Attorney; we were called several times and we appeared. Last week [the first week of October] we made some progress in solving the problem.” The speaker did not specify what “progress” was made. However, he confirmed his relationship with the girl, saying “I took responsibility for the situation from the beginning.”

From his remarks, it is evident that Cândido Daniel Sampaio sees himself as the victim. “Her father blackmailed me and it’s uncalled for. I can’t discuss this on the phone,” said the municipal secretary, ending the call.

When told of this accusation, José Adelino Txizungo exuded indignation: “I never asked him for anything. That man [Sampaio] is sly and such a liar. I couldn’t even speak to him, I was so anxious. The public prosecutor demanded [during the hearing] that I greet him ”.

Pressure from SINSE and the complaint

In defiance of the pressure from SINSE, on March 19, Txizungo lodged a formal complaint.

On June 10, the public prosecutor of Cuango, Pedro Ribeiro, held a preliminary hearing to determine whether there was enough evidence to try the case. He heard both Cândido Daniel Sampaio and the plaintiff, accompanied by their wives and the daughter.

“After I had spoken, the public prosecutor asked Mr. Cândido Daniel Sampaio if he wanted to refute anything. He [Sampaio] said no, and confirmed that everything I had said was true,” Txizungo tells.

In turn, the daughter described the facts, from the invitation to go for ice cream and the resulting pregnancy.

The public prosecutor Pedro Ribeiro revealed to Maka Angola that the case is in the final phase of deliberation, and that it will soon “be taken to court.”

According to Pedro Ribeiro, his office has provisionally safeguarded “the protection of the child born of this relation and the actual mother, who is also a minor.”

In the meantime, on August 8, the secretary got together with the teenager again. “My daughter, convinced by his [Sampaio] argument that he had built a house for her, attacked her mother for preventing her from seeing him,” the father claimed.

Following the altercation, the mother, in a fury, gave in to her daughter’s demands, taking her and her baby to the secretary’s house.

Txizungo disapproved of his wife’s action and went to the secretary’s house to get his daughter and grand-daughter back. “He [Sampaio] called the police and said that I wanted to attack him. The commander of 2nd Police Station, chief-inspector Joaquim Tchilóia, asked me to leave the man’s residence, to go home and sleep, and that, the next day, the police would ask the secretary to return the girl.”

The next day, at 6am, the father arrived at the 2nd Police Station. He waited until 9.00am, when the secretary arrived to return his daughter and her baby, in the presence of the police. Then they all went to see the public prosecutor.

However, the public prosecutor gives a different account of events. “After I spoke to them [the father and the suspect], the father left his daughter and grand-daughter at Mr. [Sampaio]’s house. He was not home. Since he has a family, Mr. Sampaio kept the girl and their daughter at a relative’s house,” he explains.

The judge suggested that José Adelino Txizungo “is dramatizing the situation.”

According to Pedro Ribeiro, during the conversation that took place in his office, the father demanded that the alleged rapist marry his daughter. “I explained that this was not possible because marriage requires the willingness of both parties and, since relations with a minor were in cause, this could only take place when she reached 18.”

“In exceptional circumstances, a minor may be married at 15, in accordance with Family Law, where the parents give consent,” he adds.

The prosecutor clarifies that, aside from any agreement reached between the suspect and the family of the victim, this does not nullify the existence of the crime of rape.

In the August meeting, the Attorney ruled that the secretary would be required to pay a maintenance allowance of 15,000 kwanzas and nothing more. On September 25, Cândido Daniel Sampaio handed over the first maintenance payment, through the Office of the Attorney.

Legal Counsel

A lawyer consulted by Maka Angola considers the situation to be a case of on-going statutory rape. “In law, the girl has neither the age nor the discernment to make decisions where adult relationships are concerned,” said the lawyer, who wished to remain anonymous.

“Even if it is a consensual relationship with an adult, while the minor is between the ages of 12 and 16, under law, this is statutory rape,” he emphasises.

While there is no case of flagrante delicto [being caught in the act], the lawyer explains that the suspect may remain at liberty.

The lawyer finds it strange that, in light of so much evidence, the case has not yet come to court. He also mentions, as an aggravating circumstance, the fact that the alleged rapist attends the same church where he directs the children’s choir to seduce his victim.

“The father ought to complain about the slowness of the process. He needs a lawyer, and to apply more pressure to take the case to court,” advises the lawyer.

The lawyer describes how Angolan legislation conveniently does not specifically define the crime of paedophilia,. “Our legal definition does not designate the relative ages. The doctrinal concept exists, but this designation [of pedophilia] does not appear in current legislation.”

Arbitrary Justice

The justice system in Angola still operates in an erratic manner, and where child protection is concerned, it fails miserably.

Last June, Maka Angola reported on a search and arrest operation carried out by the Provincial Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DPIC) of Luanda, which took place in the early hours of the morning, and culminated in the detention of six minors between the ages of 11 and 13. DPIC agents detained the minors without arrest warrants, purely on the basis of a complaint, which claimed that   the children had allegedly set fire to a disused and abandoned vehicle in the previous month.

After a week in prison, the Family Court judge, Paula Rangel Cabral, found the minors guilty, sentencing them to “preventative criminal measures” [Anti-social behaviour orders]. The court appearance took place without the presence or testimony of the plaintiffs. Though they were released the same day, the children and their parents were ordered to appear in court again the next month, on December 24, to provide “behavioural statements” on behalf of the convicted minors.

At the time, the lawyer Aires de Almeida explained that the lack of evidence against the minors and the failure of the plaintiffs to appear in court should have made the case thrown out and the “accused” set free without caution. He also made the point that the police and the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic “were in breach of the law by arresting children under the age of 14, since that is not permitted by law” in such circumstances.