Sonangol Pays The Vice-President For His Private Maids’ Wages

The Angolan state oil company, Sonangol, pays the wages of the maids and housekeepers working at the private homes of Vice-President Manuel Vicente. Vicente, who was chairman of the board and CEO of Sonangol before entering politics, continues to receive the sum of US $ 43,212 each year from Sonangol for the payment of his maids. In January 2012, President José Eduardo dos Santos relieved Manuel Vicente of his duties at Sonangol and appointed him to the Ministry of Economic Coordination, with the rank of Minister of State. The ministry, created especially to accommodate Manuel Vicente, was abolished with his promotion to vice president in September 2012. Manuel Vicente, in addition to the perks and benefits attached to the post of vice president, is one of the richest men in Africa. The business empire that he shares with generals Manuel Hélder Vieira Dias Júnior “Kopelipa” and Leopoldino Fragoso do Nascimento, frontman […]

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Dos Santos’ Son Shapes His Own Government

Speculation has been growing during the last few months on how José Filomeno dos Santos “Zenú”, one of the sons of Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos “Zedú”, is being positioned as his successor to the presidency. What is not common knowledge is how Zenú has already been participating in the current management of government affairs. A recent example was the appointment, on May 6, of Armando Manuel, then economic advisor to President Zedú and chairman of the Angola Sovereign Wealth Fund, to the post of Finance minister. Initially, Zenú suggested to his father that Armando Manuel be considered for the position of chairman of the board of directors of Sonangol, the national oil company. Sources at the presidency told Maka Angola that José Eduardo dos Santos declined the request. He pointed out to his son the lack of technical capacity and political ability of Armando Manuel to manage the […]

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Sumbula: The Diamond Digger and CEO of Endiama

Since the end of the war in Angola, the acts of institutional violence that have caused the most deaths and human rights abuses have been those focused on combating illegal mining activities in the diamond-bearing region of the Lundas, in the northeast of Angola. Official statements justify such actions as necessary to prevent the plunder of these national resources for the good of the people. Last January the minister of Geology and Mines, Francisco Queiroz, stated to the press that “illegal diamond mining in the country has reached worrisome proportions” and that “combating illegal diamond mining, both with regard to production and trading, is paramount […]”. Meanwhile, there has been no mention by the Government or the state media on the involvement of government officials in illegal mining activities. On the contrary, official institutions have consistently pointed the finger solely at the artisanal miners, known as garimpeiros, who dig diamonds […]

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The Military Spymaster’s Niche of Corruption

The head of the Military Intelligence and Security (SISM) of the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA), general António José Maria “Zé Maria”, has been an exception to the rule among the most trusted members of the presidential inner circle. His name does not appear linked to the plundering of State assets, as is the case with President Dos Santos’ henchmen. He is, however, well known for his involvement in petty scandals, such as public order offences. Nevertheless, an anonymous letter, posted on the internet and addressed to various leaders, including Dos Santos, provides leads to general Zé Maria’s active involvement in large-scale corruption. On the list of accusations, is the introduction, into SISM, of a company owned by general Zé Maria’s daughter, Nyanga Viandi Tyitapeka, providing consultancy services on matters of Intelligence. Such an accusation led Maka Angola to investigate the case. In December 2010, the general’s daughter, as a sole […]

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Blood Diamonds: Letter to President Dos Santos

Human rights defender Rafael Marques de Morais sent a letter to president Dos Santos, in his capacity as the highest magistrate in the country, on February 15, urging him to take action on human rights abuses. In the letter, the author denounced the failure of the Attorney General’s office in investigating cases of assassination and torture in the diamond-rich provinces of Lundas, in northeastern Angola. The Office of the Attorney General is, by law, a branch of the Presidency. Last November, the attorney general’s office notified Rafael Marques de Morais that it had shelved the criminal complaint he had lodged a year earlier against nine generals, after a preliminary hearing. As body of evidence, Rafael Marques de Morais filed his book Blood Diamonds: Torture and Corruption in Angola, published in Portugal in 2011. The book detailed cases involving the murder of more than 100 people, and more than 500 tortured. […]

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Goats Tethering at Sonangol

For Christmas gifts to its board of directors, the National Oil Company Sonangol allocated a total budget of US $2.2 million. Watches, luggage and other extravagant accessories by luxury brands such as Cartier, Hermès, Louis Vuitton and Gucci, among others, were part of the range of gifts that the seven executive and four non-executive board members had at their disposal. These gifts were to be exchanged between them, and to be used to reward selected members of the government. Besides the CEO of Sonangol, Francisco de Lemos José Maria, the other executive directors are Anabela de Brito Fonseca, Baptista Sumbe, Fernando Roberto, Sebastião Gaspar Martins, Mateus Morais de Brito and Raquel David Vunge. The non-executive directors are Albina Assis Africano, André Lello, José Gime and José Paiva. When all is added up, each director had US $250,000 to spend on luxury goods. Local analysts welcomed the appointment of Francisco de […]

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From the President to his Family: The Drainage Ditch

By Alfredo Muvuma Years ago, a high-ranking MPLA politburo member praised the business acumen of President José Eduardo’s children. More recently, the state-owned and only daily newspaper Jornal de Angola awarded Isabel dos Santos the title of entrepreneur of the year for 2012. In both cases, the objective was to sell the notion that there is a genuine business talent, within the Dos Santos’s family, to accumulate vast wealth. Forbes places Isabel dos Santos as the first Africa’s woman billionaire, which it estimates as the value of her legitimate shares in UNITEL, BIC Bank and in Portugal. Meanwhile, the State Budget Bill for 2013, passed days ago by the National Assembly, uncovers the farce: there is no mystery behind the enrichment of the Dos Santos clan and its entourage. Article 11 of the bill explains, in part, how the Angolan president and his cronies accumulate fortunes without sweating, much less […]

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A Record Budget for the Presidency, the Military and the Spooks

Angola’s 2013 budget has been hailed by government propaganda as its greatest ever, owing to how much is being spent on social sectors and in the fight against poverty. The State Budget Bill, approved by the National Assembly on January 15, is expected to become law on February 14. Spending this year is up some 50 percent from 2012, taking the overall budget to a record high of AKZ 6.6 trillion (around US $ 69 billion). In fact, 33.5 percent, over one third of the budget, is allocated for the “social sector,” which includes health, education, housing, environment, and social protection.  It is also true that more is being spent on the “social sector” than ever before. But the headline numbers are misleading. Moreover, focusing on the figures fails to notice that, in essence, the State Budget Bill legalizes in fact presidential unaccountability in the management of the public resources. […]

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Top Police Chief Sells Guns in Angola

The Commander-General of the National Police, Commissioner Ambrósio de Lemos Freire dos Santos, may soon become one of the largest private arms dealers in Sub-Saharan Africa. At stake is the importation of 95,000 arms from Brazil, including sub-machine guns, pistols, revolvers and riot control equipment destined for the National Police. The Commissioner’s company, R & AB, has been brokering the deal with the Brazilian manufacturer Taurus, since 2009. In August 2009, as an urgent need arose, Taurus sold 2,600 pistols to the Angolan National Police at a total price of US $825,000. However, R & AB overcharged the National Police for the consignment of the pistols, which included the models PT917 and PT909 (9mm calibre) handguns. Acting as Taurus’s representative for Southern Africa, R & AB presented the buyer, i.e. the Commander of the National Police, Commissioner Ambrósio de Lemos Freire dos Santos, with an invoice in the value of […]

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Trafigura and the Angolan Presidential Mafia

In two years of operations in Angola, Pumangol has become a leading player in the marketing of Angolan oil, as well as in the distribution of oil products in the country. This company is a joint venture between multinational Puma Energy, a subsidiary of Swiss based company Trafigura, and its Angolan counterpart Cochan. In August 2010, President José Eduardo dos Santos authorized a total of five investment contracts worth US$ 931 million, by multinational Puma Energy and its Angolan partner Cochan. In  a country ranked among the 15 worst in the world to do business, the rapid success of Trafigura and its subsidiary Pumangol  is, by its own right, a case study and one for an in-depth investigation into its dealings with the presidential inner circle. The Geneva-based company benefits of a swap contract with Sonangol. Trafigura receives Angolan crude oil (in unknown quantities) in exchange for delivering all petroleum […]

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