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 […]

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Multimillion-dollar Retirement in the FAA

During the course of this year, several army generals of the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA) will be demobilized, as part of a retirement scheme set in motion by the Commander-in-Chief, the president José Eduardo dos Santos. According to a source from the FAA General Staff, “this year alone 14 generals should be demobilised, and next year a further 20 will be retired”. Among the officers notified for retirement, the most prominent are general Rafael Sapilinha Sambalanga, Inspector-General of the Ministry of Defense; general Eduardo Martins, advisor to the Minister of Defense; general Fernando Araújo, former head of Weapons Procurement Main Directorate; general Aires Africano, head of Health Services of the General Staff; general António Filomeno Carvalho Pereira, former head of Special Forces of Central Command of Operations. According to the source, who prefers to remain anonymous, the Commander-in-Chief has stated the “ageing” of the officers to be demobilised and the […]

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Deloitte Angola: Auditing and Conflict of Interest

Elections in Angola are only three months away. More attention needs to be given to how they will be carried out, if the processes of voting and counting are to respect the will of the people. In order for citizens to be better informed, the electoral process deserves a deeper and more independent discussion, one which goes beyond official statements and the claims of the opposition. The most recent and significant event in the run-up to elections has to do with the Territorial Administration Ministry’s (MAT) handing over of the Electoral Register Central Database (FICRE) to the National Electoral Commission (CNE) on 15 May. FICRE contains the details of more than 9.7 million voters. According to the Law on General Elections, the transfer of custody and management of FICRE, which contains all the data related to the electoral process, “is preceded by an audit to be performed by an independent […]

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Masters in Corruption at the Independent University

Not many developing countries manage to create 20 universities, including public and private, in the space of a decade. In 2009 alone, the Angolan government created six new universities by presidential decree. The expansion of higher education has been extraordinary. Since the Catholic University of Angola, the country’s first private higher education institution, was founded in 2001, the government has recognised a further 15 private universities. This article does not try to deal with the quality or the standards of higher education in the country, nor indeed with education in general. Instead, it untangles some of the political and commercial dealings, including conflicts of interest that have made possible the recent proliferation of universities within the current legal framework. As its first case study, Maka Angola presents here the results of its investigation into the Universidade Independente de Angola (UnIA – Independent University of Angola), which was founded and began […]

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Isabel dos Santos: Honour and Lies

Within days, Livia Locci, the public prosecutor for the Court of Turin in Italy, will decide on the merits of a complaint of defamation, lodged against three Italian journalists, by Isabel dos Santos, the firstborn daughter of the Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos. As a citizen, Isabel dos Santos is, at all times, entitled to and ought to invoke the universal right to her honour and good name, wherever she is or feels unjustly treated. This right also extends to all citizens of Angola, who, by force of circumstances, have been governed by her father for the past 32 years. The present text deals only with the arguments presented by Isabel dos Santos to the Italian court which have a direct bearing on Angolan citizens, and which could be damaging to the country and the honour of the Angolan people. The Facts On July 15, 2007, the Italian newspaper, […]

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CNN’s Plans Positive Coverage of Angola

The CNN Press Office (London) has responded to the concerns raised by Maka Angola on the agreements made between the international news network and the Angolan regime, regarding a media campaign to promote a better image of the latter, due to grave concerns of nepotism and corruption. In a rejoinder to CNN’s response, Maka Angola offers further clarification: “The Angolan General Law of Advertisement, of July 30, 2002, states that all State and official advertisement should be done through a “public tendering procedure” (Art. 35, 1). This law has been violated by the Angolan presidency which allocated, without public tender, and through nepotism and corruption, millions of dollars for the president’s children to contract CNN International advertisement services.” Click here to download Maka Angola’s rejoinder to the CNN’s response. It is also instructive to remind CNN of the visit made by its Africa Bureau chief, Kim Norgaard, to Angola, last […]

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Kero: Manuel Vicente Goes Shopping with State Money

The Kero hypermarket, probably the biggest in Angola, might be considered a model of private investment due to the way it has improved the range, and quality of consumer goods available in the country. But it has also proved to be a model example of how Angola’s top officials continue to ignore the distinction between public and private property and have turned themselves into the country’s top entrepreneurs. Kero has been operating for a year, in Luanda’s Nova Vida suburb. In an interview with the weekly paper O País, Kero’s Brazilian Director-General, João Santos, revealed how much MONEY had been invested by a group of Angolan businessmen in partnership with Banco Privado Atlântico: “The US$35 million is a combination of private capital and resources freed up by the partnership with Atlântico.” The hypermarket occupies a surface area of 7,500 square metres and a total area of 11,000 square metres. A […]

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Dos Santos: Nepotism and corruption in CNN Broadcast Deal

President José Eduardo dos Santos’s regime has made great efforts to present Angola to the world as a place of modernity, good governance and prosperity, and as a country that looks after its citizens. Official budget documents show that, for the 2012 fiscal year, Dos Santos has set aside has set aside about US$40 million from the presidency’s budget for an initiative run by his own son and daughter for promoting a positive image of Angola to the world. A private Angolan company, Semba Comunicação, has borne the responsibility of improving the image of the Angolan regime since 2006. The company claims that soon after its launch it presented on CNN International “the campaign that changed the concept of African public relations at the level of the international media”: the “Angola, grow with us” campaign by the National Private Investment Agency (ANIP). Out of the share of the presidential budget […]

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Tchizé dos Santos: Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend

On 5 November 2010 the president of the Republic of Angola, José Eduardo dos Santos, authorised the minister of Mining and Industry to extend the terms of a diamond mining concession in Lunda-Norte province, primarily to the benefit of his daughter Welwitschea José dos Santos, usually known as ‘Tchizé’. Presidential Decree 296/10 of 2 December 2010 ordered a two-year extension to Projecto Muanga’s Licence for Prospecting, Research and Identification for Kimberlite diamonds, in Lunda-Norte province. President dos Santos initially authorised the project on 14 July 2005 as a partnership between the state diamond company Endiama (51 per cent), Sociedade de Desenvolvimento Mineiro – SDM (20 per cent), Odebrecht (19 per cent) and Di Oro (10 per cent). SDM is a joint venture between Endiama and Odebrecht, a Brazilian multinational. Di Oro – Sociedade de Negócios, established in 2003, is owned entirely by Tchizé dos Santos (73.34 per cent), her husband […]

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Minister Teta and the Angolan Technology Scam

Angola’s vice-minister of Science and Technology, Dr Pedro Sebastião Teta, has been energetically promoting projects aimed at the modernisation of the country’s information technology infrastructure, particularly for use by the public sector. To this end he has created a series of private businesses for his own personal enrichment in the area that falls under his ministerial portfolio. On 17 December 2007, the vice-minister set up the private company Torque IT in partnership with his wife, Mirela Virgínia Teta, and with the company Protic, owned by the Portuguese-Angolan Eurico Alves Gomes. Dr and Mrs Teta hold 80 percent of the shares, while Protic holds the remaining 20 percent. However, just over a month earlier, on 13 November 2007, Dr Teta in his capacity as vice-minister had approved Torque IT’s accreditation with the National Information Technology Commission (CNTI), which he co-ordinates. In other words, the company was accredited to do business with […]

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