The business dealings of Angolan Members of Parliament

It has become common practice for Angolan Members of Parliament to set up commercial companies with members of the government and with foreign investors for personal gain, in the same way that they have done with state contracts. This practice potentially creates situations that prevent them from conducting their duties as parliamentarians, as well as conflicts of interest and influence peddling. In short, it risks making corruption an institution inside parliament. On 24 December 2008 the Chairperson of the National Assembly, Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos, promised during the end-of-year celebrations that members of parliament would play a role in monitoring the government’s actions, as a contribution to good governance and transparency in the country. While the country awaits the result of such a promise, this article reveals a reality that calls for greater attention and monitoring by the Chairperson of the National Assembly and by society at large. […]

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Legal Doubts Over Thales’ Angola Deal

The head of the Angolan state oil company and the country’s ambassador to France have entered into a multi-million euro partnership with the French defense company Thales to supply communications equipment to the Angolan military. Angolan anti-corruption legislation appears to prohibit the two officials’ participation in the deal. In January 2009, the Council of Ministers of Angola awarded two contracts, worth a total of 141,6 million Euros, to a joint venture between the Thales Group and a shell Angolan company, Sadissa, for the supply of a new system of communications to the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA). Thales was previously implicated in the corruption case that lead to the conviction in 2005 of a South African businessman Schabir Shaik, on charges that included soliciting a bribe from Thales on behalf of the then South African Deputy President, and now President, Jacob Zuma. The Angolan contracts, with the official references 38/DM/03/SST/08 and […]

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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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