Audit Court in Leadership Crisis

Following Maka Angola’s report on Audit Court President Exalgina Gambôa’s US$4 million dollar spend on home décor for her government-gifted US$4 million dollar private residence, evidence has emerged of anger and disbelief amid the Audit Court Plenary Advisory Judges who were rushed into approving, without proper scrutiny, the Court’s annual accounts.  The whole process appears to have been crafted to obscure evidence that without due authorization Exalgina Gambôa had far exceeded the amounts for magisterial perquisites permitted by law, and in so doing had committed a crime and brought the Audit Court into disrepute. A scathing letter from Elisa Rangel Nunes, President of the Second Chamber of the Audit Court, dated June 22nd, expresses her dismay that an institution, “defined in the Angolan Constitution as the body that sits at the apex of supervision and control of public spending” has been irredeemably tarnished by its most senior official whose corrupt […]

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Audit Court Splashes Millions on Luxury for Boss

How did the President of Angola’s Court of Auditors manage to afford a home worth almost eight million US dollars? Allegedly by getting the State to pick up the bill. Whistle-blowers say Exalgina Gambôa should have the decency to step down while the Office of the Attorney-General of the Republic conducts a criminal investigation. This latest scandal makes a mockery of the Angolan government’s promise to fight corruption: it shows how the highest-ranking public officials – even those appointed to uphold the law – can abuse it with impunity by making use of their rank and privilege to divert state funds for private ends while still avoiding investigation and prosecution for corruption.For too many years Angola’s predatory political class has operated on the assumption that prestige positions in public service grants them the right to live in unparalleled luxury with all expenses charged to the state. The expectation of privileges […]

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Angola Drought Emergency

Humanitarian organizations are warning of an impending food emergency in southern Angola as the region faces the aftermath of the worst recorded drought in nearly half a century.  Launching an urgent eight-million-dollar appeal, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said five consecutive years of severe drought had left more than 1.5 million people at risk of famine.  It’s not known how many may have died already as a result of drought and malnutrition but thousands of starving people braved crocodile-infested rivers to cross the border into Namibia to seek help and survivors reported many dying along the way.  Namibia is repatriating drought refugees who, given the ongoing conditions, are having to regroup in resettlement camps in Angola. The Angola Red Cross has begun delivering primary assistance to the worst-affected areas in the provinces of Huila, Cunene and Namibe.  But the situation is said to be […]

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Angola’s Fight Against Corruption Falters Again

In the week that the International Red Cross launched an eight-million-dollar appeal to help feed the starving population of drought-ridden southern Angola, the Angolan Audit Court (the equivalent of the National Audit Office) is due to rule on the legality of a highly controversial government property purchase worth more than ten times that amount. Maka Angola was tipped off in November last year that the Angolan Minister of Transport had agreed on behalf of the government, to buy property from a lifelong friend at an inflated amount in what gave the appearance of both a conflict of interest and an attempt to defraud the public purse. The Welwitschia Business Centre and Chicala buildings had been on the market for several years at a lower price when Transport Minister Ricardo Veiga D’Abreu (in the photo) stepped in to offer his childhood friend Rui Óscar Ferreira Santos Van-Dúnem a staggering 91-million-dollars[1] to […]

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Time for Truth and Reconciliation in Angola

Today marks the 45th anniversary of the terrifying events of May 27th, 1977, in which the governing MPLA purged tens of thousands of its former comrades in arms. Amnesty International estimates at least 30,000 were murdered. Angolans who were alive then refer only obliquely to the massacre as “o 27 de Maio”, the day and month standing for events that cannot be named. The official version released by the ruling MPLA stated that it had been forced to defend itself against an attempted coup by a faction in the party. Inconvenient facts were buried along with the victims or locked away in the minds of survivors. The reign of terror unleashed on the dissident faction (and anyone connected with them) silenced internal dissent for decades. So many have suffered from “not knowing”, so many died over these 45 years still tortured by the inexplicable disappearance of sons and daughters. In […]

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Chairman of Angola’s Bank BAI Accused of Misappropriation of State Assets 

Allegations of corruption have re-surfaced against the head of Angola’s largest private bank, the BAI (Banco Angolano de Investimentos),after a formal criminal complaint against Board Chair José Carlos de Castro Paiva was lodged with the Angolan Attorney-General on Monday.  Paiva is alleged to have diverted state assets worth millions of US dollars into private shell companies and bank accounts, to benefit himself and others linked to the discredited former President, José Eduardo dos Santos. The formal complaint, citing instances of Paiva’s alleged money laundering and illegal diversion of public funds, was submitted by investigative journalist Rafael Marques and sociologist Tânia de Carvalho, to demand the Office of the Attorney-General launch a comprehensive investigation. Previous allegations against Paiva have not been followed up in Angola.  Alleged to have been one of the key facilitators of the wholesale looting of public money by the former Angolan regime, Paiva joined the state oil […]

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Misery and Magic Fuel Mayhem in Cafunfo

‘MISERY AND MAGIC FUEL MAYHEM IN CAFUNFO’: A new book from Angolan journalist and human rights defender Rafael Marques reveals why a supposedly ‘peaceful protest’ in a diamond-rich but dirt-poor north-eastern town erupted into bloody violence and shocked the nation. (Read full book here.)  Amid public outrage, there were claims that the security forces had used excessive force against peaceful demonstrators – but the truth lay elsewhere. “Within a day of the news of terrible bloodshed during a protest march in the diamond-mining town of Cafunfo, some people had already drawn conclusions,” says Rafael Marques.  “It took me months of investigation to get to the truth.” The undisputable facts were these:  when participants in a banned march clashed with security forces in Cafunfo on January 30th, 2021, at least a dozen people were killed and many more were injured.  Two members of the security forces were lucky to survive a […]

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Angolan Minister Faces Investigation over Real Estate Deal

Angola’s Attorney-General has been asked to open an immediate criminal investigation into a multi-million-dollar real estate deal involving the Angolan Transport Minister and a close friend.  It is alleged the deal not only violated the Law on Public Probity but may also have involved a conspiracy to defraud the government of tens of millions of dollars.  Maka Angola‘s Rafael Marques reports on a burgeoning scandal. In September 2021, the office of the President of Angola issued Decree 159/21 authorizing the purchase of two privately-owned buildings (the Welwitschia Business Centre and the Chicala) in the capital, Luanda, at a total cost of 114 million US dollars to provide office space for the Ministry of Transport and a Regulatory Agency.  A subsequent investigation by Rafael Marques of Maka Angola, has reported to the Attorney-General’s Office allegations that a)  the buildings, which include luxury penthouse residential space, were not fit for the purpose […]

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Lunda-Norte Empowers Police to Protect Human Rights

PRESS RELEASE Lucapa The third phase of training for about 350 Defence and Security staff took place in Lucapa municipality on Friday, conducted by the General Command of the Angola National Police and the UFOLO Research Centre. The series of seminars addresses the correct and legal use of coercion (including firearms) and the protection of human rights. There were also sessions about good public service and models of police practice, as well as community policing. The last issue involves the observance of the rules and procedures during public meetings or demonstrations in the light of the Constitution and other current legislation. The head of the National Police’s Department of Policing and Public Order, Superintendent Cláudio Tchivela, stated that “the police forces must act in a more proportionate manner, without causing damage to the population, whenever a confrontation is inevitable”. Trainees also learned essential ideas about the best procedures to prevent […]

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Angolan Police Detain, Harass, and Beat Journalists Covering Protests

New York, October 27, 2020 — Angolan police should stop arresting and assaulting journalists and allow them to do their jobs freely, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. At least six journalists and one media worker were arrested – with four held for more than two days – and another was harassed while covering anti-government protests by civil society groups and opposition parties in the capital, Luanda, on October 24, according to news reports and Teixeira Candido, secretary general of the Union of Angolan Journalists (SJA), who spoke with CPJ via messaging app. All those detained were released without charge, Candido said. “Angolan authorities must stop harassing and detaining journalists who are simply doing their work and must allow them to report freely,” said Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa program coordinator. “That three of the detained journalists and a driver were finally released without charge after more than two days in custody shows […]

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