Diplomatic Immunity or Impunity?

Angolan diplomats may enjoy diplomatic immunity abroad – but apparently some interpret this to mean they can fiddle their expenses without any fear of punishment back home.

From Brazil come reports of an Angolan diplomat siphoning off state funds for his own ends because because his family ties mean he believes himself to be exempt from any legal consequences.

Consul General in Rio de Janeiro, Rosário Gustavo Ferreira de Ceita, 53, justifies his diversion of funds for personal ends while boasting that he can act as he sees fit because ‘Palucha’ (Ana Paula dos Santos, the Angolan President’s wife) is his cousin. He may be confusing diplomatic immunity with impunity.

Just two years into the posting, Rosário de Ceita is relying on the Angolan state budget to ease a heavier family burden than usual – he is said to have acquired three ‘wives’ and a corresponding number of children. Angola may be unaware that it is paying for his partners and progeny. In fact, not only has it provided homes for them, they are also on the state payroll.

The Angolan consul has yet to show any aptitude for diplomacy and his linguistic skills leave much to be desired. At consular meetings and events he tries to mask his incompetence with aggressive and foul-mouthed language, always with a wink and a nod to his status as “Palucha’s cousin, don’t you know”.

This less-than-stellar representative of the Angolan first family has a particular obsession with the male genitalia, references to which pepper his conversation. Apparently he is confident that no Angolan has the correct reproductive equipment, to be able to put him (de Ceita) in his place or remove him from this feather-bedded existence at the expense of the Angolan people.

His ‘official wife’ is 26 years his junior: Carmina Dorel Ebo, a 27 year-old Angolan national who is a long-time resident of Brazil. He pays Carmina “for secretarial duties”, regardless of the fact that she is incapable of producing so much as a note without spelling mistakes.

In fact, his official secretary is Herculano Gonçalves, the Angolan Foreign Ministry appointee who enjoys a salary of US $4,200 a month. It’s Mr Gonçalves who often represents the Consul on official duties.

While the ‘official wife’ Carmina Dorel Ebo travelled back to Luanda with the Consul last month for President José Eduardo dos Santos’ birthday celebrations on August 28, a second partner, known as his ‘first lady’, a Brazilian national by the name of Denise Amparo, was relaxing at her luxury Copacabana apartment. Her rent is paid, courtesy of the Angolan consulate to the apartment’s owner who, by coincidence, no doubt, is named as Rosário de Ceita.

When the consul invited singer Dom Caetano (and his wife and child) to spend two weeks in Rio de Janeiro to “entertain the Angolan community in the city during the Olympic Games”, they were lodged at Denise Amparo’s apartment. And it was only upon arrival that Dom Caetano and fellow artistes like the Banda Maravilha and Legalize realized they had been invited to perform in a couple of favelas (Rio’s notorious shantytowns) – one in Praia de Ramos, next door to a Brazilian army barracks and one in Parque Maré, one of the most dangerous slums in the city.

Not that the welfare of others is any concern of Rosário de Ceita’s whose primary focus remains fixed on himself. Enquiries made in Rio de Janeiro by Maka Angola have revealed that in addition to the US $7,600 monthly salary de Ceita claims as Consul, he also expenses Angola for the rent of Carmina Dorel’s luxury apartment at 45 Rua Bolivar in Copacabana (conveniently on the same street as the apartment Angola is paying for Denise Amparo). The monthly rent is in excess of the ‘salary’ paid to the ‘official wife’ (the lucky Carmina), whose perks also include first-class travel.

And yet, Rosário de Ceita’s official residence is in the neighboring equally swish beach-side neighborhood of Ipanema, for which Angola is paying US $10,000 a month. And he even has a fourth apartment at his disposal. All four paid for by the Angolan State. That’s where his third ‘wife’ Sara Conceição lives, at No. 46 Rua Duvivier, also in Copacabana. She’s also on the consular payroll. But then so are Rosário’s children: Lukeni de Ceita, Tárcio de Ceita and Denise de Ceita, not to mention his stepdaughter Deborah Amparo (Denise Amparo’s daughter). In all the consulate ‘employs’ 70 people: 15 Angolan diplomats, 26 local hires and an unknown number of ‘ghost’ workers. The total bill to Angola is over three million US Dollars a year, yet the consulate cannot afford to pay its utility bills, which are all in arrears.

Maka Angola tried contacting both the Consulate and the Consul himself via email to ask for their response to the allegations but has received no response to date. If and when Rosário de Ceita does respond, we will of course ensure sufficient space to publish his statement.