The influence-peddling of Grupo Gema

When Pope Benedict XVI visited Angola in March 2009, President José Eduardo dos Santos made a speech in which he proclaimed the virtues of private economic initiative. He called on Angolan businesspeople and shareholders to invest in projects of national interest “that seek to combat unemployment, poverty, and homelessness, and to improve the goods and services on offer”. Dos Santos nevertheless emphasised the need to keep private business separate from state business. He said he was ready to fight against the misappropriation of public goods by state functionaries. Grupo Gema has been one of the fastest-growing private initiatives over the past few years in Angola. It controls part of the drinks market in Angola through its partnership with SABMiller in Coca-Cola Luanda Bottling, and through its role in Ucerba, which is a major shareholder in the country’s biggest breweries: Cuca, Nocal and Eka.  In the petroleum sector the group, through […]

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Presidential Self-Dealing Has Corrupted Society

In August, I sent a letter to the President of the Republic, in which I drew attention to the fact that the Attorney General of the Republic was breaking the law by serving as managing director of various private firms, something that is incompatible with the office that he holds. Several people have asked me about the lack of a response from the Head of State and Government regarding these complaints. My response has been that one cannot and should not expect any positive reaction from the President of the Republic concerning corruption and respect for the law. I argued that José Eduardo dos Santos embodied the same practices of conflating public duties with private interests, which he himself had condemned as the worst evil of his government. I also stated that disregard for the law was common practice for Dos Santos. In response to these questions, I present a […]

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The Business Dealings of the Attorney General

His Excellency President of Republic Hon. José Eduardo dos Santos Excellency, As an Angolan citizen, who has been monitoring the acts of your government, I write to you to express my deepest concern with the institutional silence over the recent public denunciation of the attorney general’s co-ownership of, and managerial duties in the private company Imexco. Excellency, I would like, first and foremost, to explain the rationale for bringing this case to your direct attention. According to current legislation, the Attorney General’s Office is subordinate to the President of the Republic, as Head of State (…).” The same law establishes that the President of the Republic gives direct instructions to the attorney general, which must be complied with. Excellency, You have insisted, throughout the years, on the need for the authorities to stem corruption and the abuse of power by public office holders, and for public office holders to act […]

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