Angolan ex-President’s Men Indicted over Chinese Deals

On Friday July 8, coinciding with news of the death of former Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos, it was revealed that two of his closest associates face trial on corruption charges in connection with business deals funded by the Peoples’ Republic of China to purchase Angolan oil and fund post-war reconstruction. Facing multiple criminal charges are two Angolan Generals, Manuel Hélder Vieira Dias Júnior (better known by his nom-de-guerre, ‘Kopelipa’), and Leopoldino Fragoso de Nascimento (aka General ‘Dino’) along with co-defendants including Fernando Gomes dos Santos (a lawyer), a Chinese national, You Haming, and three corporate bodies: the China International Fund (CIF) and two companies registered offshore, Plansmart and Utter Right.   The indictment, signed by three prosecutors[1] from the Ministério Público (Office of Public Prosecution) on July 4, runs to 80 pages listing 233 separate clauses detailing the alleged crimes, and citing 36 named witnesses to be called […]

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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’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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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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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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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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