Angolan Corruption Case Snares Irene Neto

Really? Carlos Manuel de São Vicente is currently a jailbird. On September 23 he was remanded in custody in Viana prison (Luanda) awaiting trial, where conditions might soon make him forget his ill-gotten billions. One by one, the bit-part players in the Dos Santos kleptocracy are being taken down, evidence of their crimes adding up against the long-ruling kleptocrat-in-chief who oversaw the outrageous theft of tens of billions of dollars of Angolan patrimony. It’s no easy matter to bring a former president to justice – especially one who secured a permanent amnesty for his actions – but the wheels of justice are turning inexorably towards his family, friends and former colleagues. Angola’s first President, Dr Agostinho Neto, must be spinning in his grave. None other than his own daughter and son-in-law’s names have been added to the long, LONG, list of “illustrious” Angolan politicians and officials accused of corruption, embezzlement […]

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Who’s the Daddy Now?

Spare a thought for the sons and daughters of crooked Presidents.  Growing up as pampered princes and princesses, educated at the finest private schools at home or abroad, groomed to head up multi-million-dollar business empires and succeed the founder of the dynasty into unimaginable power and riches, these heirs apparently believe they are untouchable. For as long as daddy is President, his dynasty believe themselves to have total impunity from investigation and prosecution… but when his power wanes, that delusion can be cruelly shattered and like any spoiled child, in utter shock and disbelief that there may be consequences for their actions, the brat stamps their foot and bawls: “IT’S NOT FAIR!” Step forward Isabel dos Santos, the favourite daughter of José Eduardo dos Santos, the former President of Angola, now revealed as the chief Kleptocrat of a corrupt regime that for nearly four decades treated the national treasury as […]

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MONEY FOR NOTHING (PART TWO)

Multi-billion-dollar deals between the government of Angola and the US corporate giant General Electric for showpiece rail and energy infrastructure projects are under investigation after reports of scandalous “irregularities” involving an intermediary company. As reported by Maka Angola, the projects were all part of a Memorandum of Understanding, signed by GE and the Angolan government in 2013.  Two years later, three separate contracts by which these proposals would be executed were drawn up by Aenergy (Aenergia, S.A.) acting as GE’s intermediary or “channel” partner, whose legal owner is Ricardo Leitão Machado, a Portuguese national.   This was how the former Angolan administration did business with the world.  Under President José Eduardo dos Santos, foreign investors and businesses were required to enter into partnership with the Angolan private sector.  All too often, these were companies with nominal owners shielding the involvement of politically exposed persons whose primary goal was to divert […]

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Money for Nothing

Over the past 20 years Angola has been bilked of billions of US dollars earmarked for public projects that delivered little or no actual benefit to the country.  And an investigation by Maka Angola into a long-promised revamp of the country’s railway system, suggests the government is still being conned into handing over millions of dollars on schemes that fail to materialize. OFF THE RAILS For two decades under former President dos Santos, Angola repeatedly awarded multi-million-dollar contracts for complex projects to ‘johnny-come-lately’ companies with no track record.  Invariably these were shell companies set up by Dos Santos cronies that never had the wherewithal to deliver on their promises.  It was a scam by which the state kleptocrats diverted public funds into their own bank accounts.  Under reformist President João Lourenço, things are supposed to have changed.  But have they? A two-part investigation by Maka Angola into a billion-dollar deal […]

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‘Operation Thunderclap’: At Least Five Dead in Separatist Attack on Angolan Prison

An armed attack on a prison in the north-eastern Angolan province of Lunda-Sul which resulted in the deaths of at least five people, has been blamed on a misguided attempt to free a self-styled independence leader. Responsibility for the attack is said to lie with a man calling himself “Commander Thunderclap” (*see below) who says it is the opening salvo in a liberation war for the independence of the Lundas.  The diamond-rich region comprises twin provinces – North Lunda (Norte) and South Lunda (Sul), largely inhabited by descendants of the Tchokwe nation.  It is no stranger to separatism.  Local communities have long displayed discontent with Angola’s central government.  While politicians, generals and foreign interests have carved out immense fortunes over decades, the lot of local people has not improved since colonial times, leading to simmering resentment and a growing appetite for self-rule.  Zero tolerance for separatism The Angolan authorities are […]

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Unveiling Corruption Is Indeed Donkey Work

A Forbes article once obliged Isabel dos Santos by repeating her claim that she was Africa’s richest woman: a self-made billionaire who said she began her mercurial business career by selling eggs in the street on her way to school.  Perhaps she did sell eggs, once upon a time though knowing the origins of her later seed capital does make you wonder who it was that owned the hens.  And I can guarantee there was no egg selling in the streets around Brook Green, London when the daughter of Angola’s then President was attending the US$ 15,000 a year fee-paying St. Paul’s Girls School.   Isabel has an affinity for the British capital which is a favoured destination for the world’s money launderers. With her husband Sindiko Dokolo, she owns (via a shell company) at least one multi-million-dollar property in an exclusive gated community in the Royal Borough of Kensington […]

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Angola’s San Community under Threat from Burning Forests

In many parts of Angola the end of the cooler, dry season known as ‘cacimbo’ is traditionally the right time for burning brush. Fire clears the land ready for planting ahead of the rainy season, produces the charcoal on which many families still depend for their cooking fuel, and sends wildlife into the path of hunters. But unregulated and uncontrolled, this practise is one of the major factors leading to widespread deforestation in the most remote southeastern corner of Angola, where hundreds of kilometres of virgin forest are on fire, threatening the very existence of the San people. The San, dubbed “Bushmen” by the European colonizers of the region, are the descendants of some of the most ancient peoples on Earth. Their forefathers have roamed the southern African forests for tens of thousands of years. To this day the San communities follow their ancestors’ tradition of living in harmony with […]

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NO MAGIC – ANGOLA’S BANKING SYSTEM IS JUST SMOKE AND MIRRORS

What happened to the US $2 billion injection of funds from Angola’s central bank (BNA) in 2014 that was supposed to refinance the Banco Económico (BE) as it emerged from the ashes of the failed Banco Espírito Santos (BESA)? Surely José de Lima Massano must have some idea? He was Governor of the Banco Nacional de Angola (BNA) then and is again now. Did he keep track of where the money went? Because the BE is failing again and he seems all too ready to throw good money after bad: ordering majority shareholder Sonangol to inject a further US $1.2 billion of public money into it. So who does this bailout benefit? Mr. Massano is the master magician tasked by President João Lourenço with restoring good governance to the Angolan banking system. Is he not up to the job? Or is he actively sabotaging it? According to Diamantino de Azevedo, […]

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Défenseurs de la Démocratie de 52 Pays Africains Écrivent une Lettre au Chef de L’État Érythréen

Plus de 100 défenseurs de la démocratie de 52 pays africains, dont le lauréat du prix Nobel Wole Soyinka, écrivent une lettre au chef de l’État érythréen. Luanda le 10 Juin 2019—-DES ÉCRIVAINS, DES JOURNALISTES, DES ACADÉMICIENS, DES MILITANTS DES DROITS HUMAINS ET DES FIGURES DE LA SOCIETE CIVILE DE 52 PAYS AFRICAINS DEMANDENT À RENDRE VISITE À LEURS COLLÈGUES INCARCÉRÉS EN ÉRYTHRÉE. Cent (100) éminents défenseurs de la démocratie venant de 52 pays d’Afrique, y compris le lauréat du prix Nobel Wole Soyinka, le romancier, journaliste, poète et universitaire de renom Alain Mabanckou et le chanteur et député d’opposition ougandais Bobi Wine, ont saisi l’occasion de la Journée de l’Afrique, le 25 mai 2019, pour écrire une lettre ouverte au président érythréen Isaias Aferwerki. Ele a été publiée le 10 juin 2019. Ils ont demandé au chef de l’État la possibilité de rendre visite à leurs collègues incarcérés en […]

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Press Release: African Activists Sign Letter to Eritrean President

Nobel Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka joins over 100 African activists and academics from 52 of 54 African countries, including Ugandan musician and opposition MP Bobi Wine, award winning Kenyan anti-corruption activist John Githongo, Egyptian actor Amr Waked, award winning human rights lawyer Alice Nkom, novelist Alain Mabanckou, award winning investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas in signing a letter to Eritrean head of state. DEAR MR PRESIDENT, PLEASE WELCOME US TO ERITREA AFRICAN DEMOCRACY ADVOCATES, JOURNALISTS AND HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS ASK TO VISIT THEIR INCARCERATED COLLEAGUES IN ERITREA. One hundred (100) leading African journalists, democracy and human rights advocates took the opportunity on Africa Day – May 25th 2019 to write an open letter to Eritrea’s President Isaias Aferwerki. It is released today Monday 10th June 2019. They requested the head of state an opportunity to visit their colleagues incarcerated in Eritrea. In a message of solidarity with all the people […]

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