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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Foul Play: Corruption and the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations

On 31 January 2010, Egypt emerged the victor in the Africa Cup of Nations, for the seventh time. Celebrations erupted in Cairo, while in Angola, which organised and hosted the championship, the final marked the return to reality. The Angolan government announced that is has spent $600 million on building four stadiums. The 11 de Novembro Stadium, in Luanda, with a capacity of 50 000, was budgeted at $227 million. In a country where the government rules through corruption and disrespect for the law, public works projects invariably involve shady institutional decisions regarding state contracts, to the primary benefit of political leaders. In between the football matches I took the time to investigate the points at which corruption and influence peddling could potentially occur in the process of organising the Cup of Nations. The first case that I am reporting concerns the inspection contract for the construction of the Luanda […]

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MPLA, Corporation

During the ruling MPLA’s Central Committee meeting in Luanda, in November 2009, President José Eduardo dos Santos defined his challenges facing his party in terms of three fundamental questions: keeping watch on government, the irresponsibility of government leaders, and fighting corruption with a policy of zero tolerance. In this investigation I deal with the transfer of state assets to the MPLA’s private businesses through a company called GEFI (Sociedade de Gestão e Participações Financeiras / Management and Business Participation Company), and the consequences of its involvement in such money-making activities. In order to make clear the gap between the leadership’s words and its deeds, I will analyse those three main questions that Dos Santos, both President of the Republic and leader of the MPLA, put forward during his speech when he opened the party Central Committee meeting on 29 November 2009. Download the full text here.

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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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