Just Call Him “General Toyota”
Maka Angola has learned that some 300 motor vehicles imported into Angola in 2008 for the use of officers serving in the Military Intelligence and Security Service, have instead been retained in a parking lot at the Morro Bento quarters in Luanda.
Sources within Military Intelligence told Maka Angola that the vehicles, which include Toyota Land Cruiser, Hilux and Yaris models, were imported at a total cost of US $7 million to the public purse. But they have yet to be distributed to their intended recipients, in spite of repeated complaints to the office of the President of the Republic.
The sources allege that the head of the Military Intelligence and Security Service, General Zé Maria, has kept the vehicles as a private fleet: “Several of the vehicles have been diverted quite openly to the General’s family and friends. It’s a blatant abuse of power, and it is jeopardizing vital state security operations.”
This sorry state of affairs is no surprise to long-suffering Angolans who are accustomed to seeing Angolan officials at all levels corruptly diverting state property to peddle influence and ensure loyalty.
In the opinion of analysts consulted by Maka Angola, President José Eduardo dos Santos has been extremely fortunate to count on such a stalwart supporter as General Zé Maria, who has helped keep him in power for 37 years (and counting).
The Angolan regime is highly dependent on the State Security apparatus to maintain a culture of fear to paralyse any uprising that might disturb the status quo.
It comes at a high cost. Economists say that such routine bribery and blackmail have a major effect on the socio-economic conditions that currently weigh so heavily on most Angolans.