Member of Parliament Innovates in Law Breaking

Just days after being elected to the National Assembly by the provincial constituency of Huíla, Vigílio da Ressurreição Bernardo Tyova wrote to the minister of Geology and Mines asking for a mining concession in the municipality of Quilengues, in order to explore, extract, commercialize and export quartz.

In the letter, dated 18 September 2012, Mr Tyova introduced himself as a managing partner, lawyer, “university professor” and 2nd secretary of the Provincial Committee of the  ruling MPLA for Huíla. Up to 2010, the businessman held the position of municipal administrator of Lubango, in the province of Huíla, where most of his businesses are based and have flourished.

Already the title-holder of black granite mining concession nº 1012/327/TE/DNLCM/2008  in the municipality of Chibia, the lawmaker was looking to increase the number of concessions in his name.

Omatali is a family business of which Mr Tyova is a 75 percent shareholder, with the remaining stock held in his children’s names.

The president of the Republic and the office of the attorney general have both strenuously defended corruption, whether as a means of creating a middle-class in the country, or due to an alleged lack of evidence required to open investigations into public servants suspected of corruption.

However, the case of Vigílio Tyova illustrates how MPLA leaders trample on the Constitution. The letterhead on the correspondence states that the Member of Parliament (MP) is a lawyer and consultant, that he holds a masters and post-graduate degrees in Law. Therefore, Virgílio Tyova is very familiar with the law, as he is also a law professor.

The Constitution established that the mandate of an MP is not compatible with “carrying out the duties of administration, management or any other office involving commercial companies or other institutions pursuing financial gains” (art. 149, 2.a).

Nevertheless, on 21 September 2012, two days after a general meeting was held, Mr Tyova formally decided to step down as the company’s CEO. He appointed João Eduardo Gulofe and Francisco Paulino Adriano as his replacements. However, he is still chair and the only member of Omatali’s board.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, another MPLA MP and lawyer reiterates that “the position of member of the board of directors of a company is not compatible with the exercise of the duties of deputy. The Constitution is clear and strict”.

However, up until last year, Vigílio Tyova continued to hold several managerial positions in companies owned by him. Tyova is still the chairman of the board of directors of the said companies, as documents in possession of Maka Angola clearly prove.

For the current investigation, the site restricts itself to just three companies, as follows.
On 10 February 2014, Vigílio Tyova resigned from the position of manager of AFRICAD – Publicidade e Marketing Lda. He remains on as chairman of the board, representing himself and his daughter Airosa Leocádia de Candeias e Tyova, who is still a minor. Father and daughter are the sole shareholders of the company. On the same day, João Eduardo Gulofe and Francisco Paulino Adriano were appointed as managers at the annual shareholders’ general meeting. The only person who attended the meeting was Mr Tyova himself. He signed the minutes twice, including on behalf of his daughter.

On the same day, at the same time, 10 February 2014, at 12.30PM, Mr Tyova held another general meeting regarding another company, Vivotours Lda. During this meeting, which also took place solely to change the company’s management structure, the parliamentarian appointed João Eduardo Gulofe and Francisco Paulino Adriano to take his place as managers. Both meetings ended at exactly the same time, 12.45 PM.

As far as  Vivotours is concerned, the lawmaker and MPLA representative was, again, the only person present at the meeting.  He also represented his daughter Airosa Leocádia de Candeias e Tyova, for whom he also signed the minutes. Father and daughter are the sole shareholders of the company.

The headquarters of these companies are all based in Huíla, and the proceedings were notarized  by the head of the Public Notary in Huília Province, Luís Tavares Monteiro de Carvalho.

In a phone call from Maka Angola, Vigílio Tyova justified his actions. “Once I was elected Member of Parliament, I stepped down from company management” he says.
Mr Tyova also explains that AFRICAD “is barely functional. It started up last year but didn’t work. We employed a Portuguese citizen to run it, but he has already left”. According to the lawmaker the Portuguese manager did not have the expertise to run the advertising and design company.

Where Omatali is concerned, the lawmaker explained that the mining company “has not started operations yet. We are waiting for feasibility studies, which could also facilitate access to the credit required to make the necessary investments.”

With regard to the travel agency Vivotours, Mr Tyova highlighted that “it was inaugurated last year by the Secretary of State for Tourism”. “I was not even there myself as I had to attend a meeting at the National Assembly”, he said. However, “it [Vivotours] has started operations and seems to be running smoothly”, he concluded.

Meanwhile, the lawyer and MPLA lawmaker contacted by Maka Angola for an opinion argued that “there is a socio-cultural problem here that cannot be seen purely from a legislative point of view.”

He defends “the right [of  his colleagues in parliament also]  to be entrepreneurs and to create wealth by these means.”

“It is important that you continue with your investigative work, to achieve transparency and good governance through educating.  But it is important to understand our socio-political and economic context. This is Africa”, stressed the lawmaker, emphasizing that laws should be rather “flexible.”