Sonangol’s Hotel Bills don’t Add Up

The national oil company Sonangol, which is the largest state-owned company, has been regarded internationally as an oasis of competence and good management practice in Angola. At the same time, Sonangol has also been accused from abroad of being the main vehicle for the looting and disappearance of billions of dollars in oil revenues. However, Angolans themselves need to pay closer scrutiny to the current management of Sonangol, which supplies about half of the funds that make up the country’s annual state budget. In 2010, Sonangol picked up a bill of over US $1 million for nine days’ worth of accommodation and expenses at the Suite Hotel Maianga in Luanda. The hotel bills (see the table) amounting to US $1,346,022.50 were paid through Banco Africano de Investimentos (BAI), of which Sonangol is the main shareholder, with an 18.5 percent share. The three-star hotel has 54 rooms including two executive suites […]

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Generals Accused of Crimes Against Humanity

OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF THE REPUBLIC OF ANGOLA RUA 17 DE SETEMBRO, CIDADE ALTA LUANDA MOST HONORABLE ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF THE REPUBLIC GENERAL JOÃO MARIA MOREIRA DE SOUSA Rafael Marques de Morais, [personal details redacted], pursuant to the terms of article 73 of the Constitution, hereby lodges a CRIMINAL COMPLAINT Against: 1. THE PARTNERS OF THE COMPANY  SOCIEDADE LUMANHE – EXTRACÇÃO MINEIRA, IMPORTAÇÃO E EXPORTAÇÃO, LIMITADA, (cf. DR, Series III, nº 33, 2004), Rua Comandante Dangereux, n.º 130, Luanda: A)    GENERAL HÉLDER MANUEL VIEIRA DIAS JÚNIOR “Kopelipa”, Minister of State and Head of the Military Bureau of the Presidency of the Republic; B)    GENERAL CARLOS ALBERTO HENDRICK VAAL DA SILVA, Inspector-General of the General Staff of the FAA [Angolan Armed Forces]; C)    GENERAL ARMANDO DA CRUZ NETO, Governor of Benguela and former Chief of the General Staff of the FAA; D)    GENERAL ADRIANO MAKEVELA MACKENZIE, Head of the Directorate for […]

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The ill-gotten gains behind the Kilamba housing development

Since last July, thousands of Angolan citizens living in Luanda have been making desperate efforts to acquire state-funded public housing apartments in the Kilamba development. The private real estate company hired to sell the apartments and funded by the state, Delta Imobiliária, charges prices ranging from US$125,000 to US$200,000 per apartment. These unaffordable prices, and the disclosure of the names of Delta Imobiliaria’s shareholders, reveal yet another corruption scandal. Contrary to the government’s established ceiling prices for state-funded social housing, Delta is overpricing the units by two to three times. On 5 August 2010, the President of the Republic, José Eduardo dos Santos, announced that struggling Angolan families would be able to buy state funded social housing for a maximum price of US$60,000 per unit. He made the announcement during his speech at the meeting of the National Program for Social Housing, held at the presidential palace. In the run […]

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Mercedes-Benz and Influence Peddling in Angola

In this new investigation, Maka Angola exposes the role of foreign investment in broadening, and institutionalizing corrupt dealings with the country’s political leaders. This case involves the “general distributor of Mercedes-Benz cars for Daimler in Angola”. On 12 July 2009, the Minister of State and head of the Military Bureau in the Presidency of Angola, General Manuel Hélder Vieira Dias Júnior “Kopelipa”, set up the company Auto-Star Angola, with himself as majority shareholder. The deputy director of the Office of National Reconstruction (GRN), Manuel José Cardoso do Amaral Van-Dúnem, and the faithful depository of General Kopelipa’s businesses, were each granted a 10 percent shareholding. The businessmen Herculano Adelço de Morais and António de Lemos, received 30 and 10 percent of the shares respectively. The website of the Belgian company Societé de Distribution Africain (SDA) announced the creation of Auto Star with the intention of setting up “a Belgian and Angolan […]

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Angolan Parliament splashes over $43 million on BMWs

The Angolan ruling party, the MPLA, has over the last two years been repeating its promise to keep a watch on the administration, the management of public resources and the well being of Angolans. This article compares the promises with the reality, and shows how the members of parliament have been serving their own interests rather than the interests of the people they supposedly represent. On 16 June 2010, the National Assembly renegotiated a loan contract with the Banco do Comércio e Indústria (BCI) worth 3.21 billion kwanzas (equivalent to 35.7 million US dollars) for the purchase of 210 cars, the 2010 model of the BMW 535i series. These vehicles, valued at $168.9 thousand each, are for parliamentarians’ use on official business and are to be delivered by the end of the year only. The current budget for 2010, for the acquisition of vehicles for parliamentarians, officials and personnel of […]

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The Angolan Presidency: the Epicentre of Corruption

This report shows how the Presidency of the Republic of Angola has become the site of shady business deals, a fact that has consequences for citizens’ freedom and development, as well as for the country’s political and economic stability. The text responds President José Eduardo dos Santos’s call, on 21 November 2009, for a zero tolerance policy against corruption. For the sake of clarity, this investigation limits itself to a small demonstration of the business practices employed by the minister of State and head of the Military Bureau (Casa Militar) in the Presidency, General Manuel Hélder Vieira Dias Júnior “Kopelipa”. This is the man responsible for co-ordinating the defence and security sectors of the state. General Kopelipa is one of the triumvirate that today dominates Angola’s political economy, along with General Leopoldino Fragoso do Nascimento “Dino”, the presidency’s head of telecommunications, and Manuel Vicente, the chairman and CEO of the […]

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President’s Three Henchmen Lead the Plunder of State Assets

In his latest report, “The Angolan Presidency: The Epicentre of Corruption”, Angolan journalist and human rights activist Rafael Marques de Morais focuses on the illicit business links of a powerful triumvirate of officials close to President José Eduardo dos Santos. These officials are the head of the Military Bureau of the Presidency, the head of Telecommunications at the Presidency, and the CEO and chair of national oil company Sonangol, respectively General Manuel Hélder Vieira Dias Júnior “Kopelipa”, General Leopoldino Fragoso do Nascimento, and Manuel Vicente. “Their dealings acknowledge no distinction between public and private affairs, and this has allowed them to channel millions of dollars worth of state assets into their own private businesses,” Marques de Morais says. One of the tools used by these officials for their private operations, according to the report, is the power and the international reputation of Sonangol as well as their influence on the […]

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The Self-Dealings of Sonangol’s CEO

On 20 May 2002, the chairman of the board and CEO of Sonangol, Manuel Vicente, went into partnership with Grinaker LTA International Holdings, a South African company, the Banco Africano de Investimentos (BAI), and Mário Palhares in setting up Grinaker LTA Angola – Civil Construction and Public Works. Each partner took an equal 25 percent shareholding. A few months after it was set up, Grinaker LTA Angola – Civil Construction and Public Works in partnership with the Portuguese construction company Soares da Costa, got the contract for the new Luanda headquarters of the Angolan national oil company, Sonangol: a contract worth US $83.5 million. Work started in June 2003, and the 21-storey building was opened early in 2008. The same partnership of Grinaker LTA Angola and Soares da Costa won the contract in 2006 to build the headquarters of Sonangol Exploration and Production (P&P), the operational subsidiary of the Sonangol […]

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When Corruption in Angola is Easier Than in Nigeria

It is an honor for me to be here. I thank Ambassador Lyman and the Council on Foreign Relations for the opportunity to address you this morning. During our civil wars, the government of Angola consistently pointed to corruption as the second major destructive force in the country after the civil war.  Ironically, in times of peace, corruption has become the most defining issue in governing the nation.  It is a common part of business and government relationships. It has taken root throughout our social fabric. It is so pervasive that by the end of 2009 President José Eduardo dos Santos declared a zero tolerance policy against the scourge – a sinister attempt to deflect attention to the problem and to appease his detractors. Since October last year, I set up a website [www.makaangola.org] to monitor corruption in government in the context of the country’s legal framework, and in order […]

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Manuel Vicente’s Raid on Sonangol

In 2008, Manuel Vicente, the chairman of the board and director general of the Angolan state oil company, Sonangol, restructured the company’s main subsidiaries to his personal benefit. The same year, petroleum exports exceeded $62 billion, according to the World Bank: 97.7% of Angola’s exports. These figures demonstrate the crucial role of Sonangol in the country’s political economy, as the only Angolan concession-holder in the industry. Manuel Vicente did a business deal with himself when he illegally transferred a percentage of Sonangol Holding into his own name, thus making himself a formal (private) shareholder in almost all the multi-million dollar deals of a state-owned business. This move by Sonangol’s top manager must first be put into context in the light of current legislation and the MPLA’s rhetoric on the supposed zero tolerance policy towards corruption. On 30 March 2010, the President of the Republic, José Eduardo dos Santos, signed into […]

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