Water for Chevron and a Lesson for the Government

A U.S oil multinational, Chevron, recently kick-started a new venture in Luanda’s most affluent residential area, Talatona:  a water well for the consumption of its employees. The first well for the rich, privileged and expats, in a luxury gated community, is about to pump water to the 100 houses of Condomínio Monte Belo (Beautiful Heights), where most of Chevron’s expat employees live.  Since the August 31 elections, the Angolan capital, Luanda, a sprawling urban chaos with more than five million people, has been plagued by severe water and electricity shortages. Monte Belo is one of the extravagantly expensive gated communities that have mushroomed south of Luanda and it is worth over US $250 million. Chevron commissioned the real estate project to the Brazilian construction multinational Odebrecht, in a joint-venture with a local private company Sakus Empreendimentos e Participações, set up by Sonangol oil executives. Sakus is currently fronted by Mirco […]

Read more

Angola’s Sovereign Wealth Fund – the US $5 billion logo

The Angolan Sovereign Wealth Fund (FSDEA) was launched in October to great fanfare, receiving global media coverage from the likes of the New York Times, CNN and Euromoney. Local and international journalists packed into the shiny new offices by Sagrada Família upmarket area in Luanda to admire the glass and steel spiral staircase, lacquered furniture and raw silk wallpaper. They were given stylish press packs featuring black and white photographs of smiling Angolan children and told how the FSDEA would change Angola for the better and preserve the country’s great oil wealth for the use of future generations. After a lavish lunch buffet complete with drinks served by a suited barman, there was a film shown by a South African production team who had collated clips of “ordinary” Angolans saying how much they loved their country, and a mumbled speech and Powerpoint presentation from Board Chairman Armando Manuel. In the […]

Read more

Presidential Guards’ Trial to Resume

The trial of 15 soldiers of the Angola’s Presidential Guard will resume in the Luanda Regional Military Tribunal on Friday, September 28. The members of the Central Protection and Security Unit (DCPS) in the Military Bureau of the Angolan Presidency are accused of the crime of making “demands in a group”, for claiming fair wages and better working conditions. During the September 21 hearing, the judge heard three witnesses to try to establish whether the accused had made group demands in an unruly or riotous manner, as they are accused of doing. The witnesses confirmed only that the soldiers had delivered a petition without any provocative or aggressive behaviour. At an earlier session on September 18, the military judge suspended the session in order to assess whether the law in terms of which the men were accused was in line with the Angolan Constitution. The Law on Military Crimes of […]

Read more

The Presiding Judge’s Quixotic Dealings

Later this week, Angola’s Constitutional Court will rule on a challenge brought by opposition parties against the National Electoral Commission, claiming widespread malpractice in the conduct of the national elections held on August 31. As background to the forthcoming judgement, Maka Angola here recalls how the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court, Rui Ferreira, has conducted his own business affairs. The deal in question involved the purchase of a building that houses an upmarket Luanda nightclub, Dom Quixote. In 2007, Ferreira purchased the building on behalf of his business partner António Lisboa Santos, with an agreement that Santos would acquire the building from Ferreira after paying off the debt over a period of four years. Ferreira is now claiming that Santos pays him around $5 million, almost ten times the building’s purchasing price. Of this sum, US$2.2 million comprises interest charged at 75 percent on the purchase price of the […]

Read more

Executive Jets for Manuel Vicente’s Wine

Carlos Duarte: The vice-presidential candidate, Manuel Vicente has expensive taste in fine wines and cognacs. From time to time, Manuel Vicente sends an executive jet to France and Portugal (the luxurious Falcon-900 or the sophisticated Falcon X-7) for the exclusive transportation of wine and cognac for his personal consumption. The flights are operated by VipAir, a company part owned by Sonangol, and no passengers are allowed to travel on those flights. Some recent examples highlight how the current minister of State for Economic Coordination and probable successor to José Eduardo dos Santos at the presidency of the republic and the MPLA, is completely indifferent to the living conditions of the majority of Angolan citizens, who don’t even have access to clean drinking water. In Paris, the crew of the Falcon-900, on a mission to collect wine and cognac for Manuel Vicente, was not allowed to transport a second VipAir crew […]

Read more

The Angolans’ Exclusive Building in Estoril Sol

Displays of wealth by nouveau riche Angolans have become legendary in Portugal in recent years. Angolan leaders and their families and business associates have been buying up some of the country’s most opulent properties. A typical case is that of Estoril Sol Residence, a luxury housing complex comprising three buildings of a distinctive and controversial design in Estoril, a coastal suburb of Lisbon. The complex contains some of Portugal’s most expensive apartments, priced at between one million and five million euros per unit. The complex, opened two years ago, is well known as “the Angolans’ building”, since Angolans are the main property owners there, holding title to about 30 apartments. An investigation by Maka Angola has revealed the names of the rich Angolans who own property in Estoril Sol Residence. The Minister of Public Administration, Employment and Social Security, António Domingos Pitra Costa Neto, is the owner of five apartments […]

Read more

The Next Vice President and the Legalization of Corruption

Manuel Vicente’s nomination as president José Eduardo dos Santos’ running mate in the upcoming August 31 election comes as no surprise. The former Sonangol chairman had long been expected to take the number two spot on the candidates’ list of the incumbent Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) and thus walk into the job of Vice President when, as it is almost certain, the party wins the ballot. What is baffling though about Mr. Vicente – who in January was plucked from Sonangol and appointed Minister of State for Economic Co-ordination – is the way in which he appears to be interpreting the laws of the country, most especially those regarding corruption. On August 8, 2010, this author published a report titled “Presidency: The Epicentre of Corruption in Angola” in which it claimed Mr. Vicente and two other senior officials at the presidency were allegedly involved with illegal […]

Read more

The Next Vice President and the Legalization of Corruption

Manuel Vicente’s nomination as president José Eduardo dos Santos’ running mate in the upcoming August 31 election comes as no surprise. The former Sonangol Chairman had long been expected to take the number two spot on the candidates’ list of the incumbent Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) and thus walk into the job of Vice President when, as it is almost certain, the party wins the ballot. What is baffling though about Mr. Vicente – who in January was plucked from Sonangol and appointed Minister of State for Economic Co-ordination – is the way in which he appears to be interpreting the laws of the country, most especially those regarding corruption. In 2010, this author published a report titled “Presidency: The Epicentre of Corruption in Angola” in which it claimed Mr. Vicente and two other senior officials at the presidency were allegedly involved with illegal private business […]

Read more

BAI: The Regime’s Banking Laundromat

In recent years, the Angolan financial market has been led by Banco Africano de Investimentos – BAI (African Investment Bank), a banking institution previously named Banco Angolano de Investimentos (Angolan Investment Bank). To a certain extent, the shareholding structure of the bank reflects its success as well as the institutionalization of public assets’ transfer to public officials, for their illicit enrichment. Praised at US $8 billion, BAI currently holds a portfolio of deposits and credits estimated, by the Angolan National Bank, at US $10.4 billion and US $3.2 billion, respectively. At its inception, in 1996, Sonangol was BAI’s main investor, with 18.5 percent of its shares. Over the years, Sonangol quietly transferred 10 percent of its shares to the private ownership of high-ranking officials, besides the ones who, from the start, already owned considerable shares of the banks stock. By way of illustration, the table below shows only the list […]

Read more

Hotel Talatona and the Scavangeing of Sonangol

The Talatona Convention Centre (CCTA) is one example of the large-scale investments that Sonangol, the state oil company, has been making in Angola in order to diversify its activity beyond the petroleum sector. At a cost of $149.1 million, the centre includes a five-star hotel called the Tatalona Convention Hotel (HCTA), which was opened on 18 December 2009 by president José Eduardo dos Santos. Sonangol’s investments outside of the oil sector have served as the most effective mean to divert hundreds of millions in public funds to an inner circle of senior government officials and company directors. CCTA is only one of these schemes. On 8 November 2006, Sonangol set up CCTA in partnership with the Angolan private companies Simaroco and Oil International Supply Services S.A. (OISS). This happened six months after the opening of the $60 million convention centre by the then vice-president Fernando Dias dos Santos. On the […]

Read more
1 10 11 12 13 14 15