Observers Reserve Judgement on Vote Counting Irregularities

International observers to the 2017 elections in Angola have issued positive assessments of the electoral campaign and voting process, but their statements do not mention the vote counting process, which opposition parties have pointed out was conducted in a way that flouted the electoral law. The African Union (AU), the European Union (EU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) issued statements on Friday 25 August, two days after the election date. They did not comment on events that took place after the polls closed on 23 August. Although Angolan state media have selectively quoted the observers to create the impression of unequivocal endorsement, the EU and SADC both made clear that their statements were provisional and a final assessment of the elections would be made after the process was completed. The brief EU statement was couched in diplomatic language but hinted at the ongoing controversy over the count, warning […]

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Greasy Palms in Angola’s Oil Industry

Today Maka Angola can shed light on a relatively clumsy sleight of hand by the former Chairman of the Board and CEO of Sonangol USA. Step forward Baptista Sumbe, who occupied that position between 1997 and 2009. In 2006, for the sum of US $400,000, Baptista Sumbe and his wife Rosa acquired approximately 550 square meters of land, demarcated as Plot 4, Block 3, Section 11 of the Royal Oaks Country Club in Houston, Texas. They borrowed $306,000 from the Compass Bank on June 26, 2006 to help pay for it. So far, so legit. But Baptista Sumbe didn’t really need a bank loan. He had already gone knocking on the door of Sonangol USA, the company in which he was Chairman of the Board. On November 1, 2006, Mr and Mrs Sumbe had arranged to borrow from Sonangol USA the sum of US $1,750,000 for their personal use. They […]

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The European Commission’s Problem with the Truth on Angola

Recently, on November 19, the president of the European Commission, Mr. José Manuel Barroso, instructed the EU High Representative and vice-president of the Commission, Baroness Catherine Ashton, to respond on his behalf to queries on the detention of Angolan activist Nito Alves, a minor, and the charges brought against him. Mr. Barroso is a very well known and controversial figure in Angola, for his promotion of the first peace agreement in the country, in 1991, signed between President José Eduardo dos Santos, and his nemesis, the late rebel leader Jonas Savimbi. At the time, Mr. Barroso was the Portuguese minister of Foreign Affairs. He has since cultivated a close friendship with President Dos Santos, and has been favouring him in the international arena. President Dos Santos has been enlisting more senior Portuguese politicians to help him shield the corrupt deeds and human rights abuses of his government. In exchange, he […]

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Angolan Kleptocracy Discussed at the European Parliament

Kleptocracy in Angola and the management of its natural resources were discussed today, October 3, at the European Parliament in Brussels. The director of Maka Angola, Rafael Marques de Morais, delivered the talk. The full text of the presentation is available here. The presentation was delivered at the conference “Raw Materials: A Raw Deal for Developing Countries?”, an initiative of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament. In the same panel, the executive secretary general of the European External Action of the European Commission, Pierre Vimont, presented the common perspective of the European Union. The Portuguese Member of the European Parliament, Ana Gomes, moderated the debate.

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Corruption in Angola, Money-Laundering in Portugal and the Impact on Human Rights

Rather than addressing corruption in Africa in general, this brief paper focuses on a particular case study, Angola. The rationale for this analysis lies in the paradoxical combination of the following factors: for the past decade, the country has had the fastest growing economy in the world; it is the third-largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa; it ranks among the most corrupt regimes worldwide and has some of the lowest levels of human development. In recent years, the national oil company Sonangol and Politically Exposed Persons (PEP’s) have invested billions of euros in the European Union, particularly in Portugal. On February 14, the National Assembly passed Angola’s 2013 state budget – the largest ever, to the tune of US $69 billion. This unprecedented budget and the country’s steady economic growth have the potential to transform the lives of Angolans. It is estimated that two-thirds of the 19 million Angolans still live […]

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