Diamond Barons Destroy Food Crops

Several hundred Angolan peasants and their families reportedly face the prospect of a state-sponsored famine in the northeastern diamond region of Lunda Norte thanks to the decision to destroy villages, homes and crops to expand mining operations. The Angolan diamond mining conglomerate, Sociedade Mineira do Cuango (SMC) is accused of ordering the systematic destruction of hundreds of food crop plantations in the Cafunfo area (Cuango municipality), with the local MPLA administration ordering the compulsory removal of the villagers and destruction of their homes, cash crops and vegetable gardens. Villagers complain that compensation for their destroyed harvests is wholly inadequate, amounting to 60,000 kwanzas (about US $115) in the informal exchange rate) and some empty water barrels. “The peasant may have planted crops in an area of between one and four hectares, but each only gets a maximum of 60,000 kwanzas sum, regardless of the size of the area cultivated,” says […]

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Chinese Couple Present Diplomas to Angolan Presidential Guards

A Chinese couple has had the honor of presenting diplomas to officers and soldiers of the Angolan Presidential Guard. The recipients of the diplomas had completed a 45-day military course at the Angolan presidency’s prestigious Chacal Instruction Center. Maka Angola obtained a lengthy video of the ceremony, which took place on August 15, 2014, during the celebrations of the ninth anniversary of the Central Detachment for Protection and Security of the Intelligence Bureau of the President (known as DCPS/CSPR).  The prominence accorded at the ceremony to Mr Wan, a construction contractor, and his love interest raises concerns about protocol within the Angolan Armed Forces and, by extension, in the presidency. No civilian authorities were in attendance at the ceremony. A snapshot of the video has been edited for public view, and this portal has asked for an expert opinion. The executive-secretary of the Intelligence Bureau of the President and commander […]

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Blood Diamonds: Pre-Trial Investigation Deadline Expired

The defense lawyer acting for Angolan journalist Rafael Marques de Morais has called for the setting aside of the eleven criminal charges laid against him by seven Angolan generals in January. The charges of slander and defamation were brought in reaction to the book Blood Diamonds: Torture and Corruption in Angola, 15 months after its publication, in Portugal. According to lawyer Luís Nascimento, “Angolan law limits the period of preparatory instruction to two months when there are no suspects being held in custody, and this period cannot be extended.” Mr. Nascimento invoked the constitutional principle that prevents double jeopardy. “A citizen may not be tried more than once on the same facts,” he said. In 2012 the generals and the managers of the Sociedade Mineira do Cuango, the diamond mining company in which the generals are shareholders, brought charges in Portugal against the author and his publisher, Tinta-da-China, for calumny, […]

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Brewing Discontent Within the Intelligence and Security Services

Operatives from the State Intelligence and Security Service (SINSE) recently addressed a letter to President José Eduardo dos Santos, in which it gave an account of the increasing levels of discouragement among their ranks, due to a lack of leadership and poor working conditions. SINSE has a budget of KZ 66.6 billion (US$695 million) for the current year. Funds were also fairly generous in previous years. However, the distribution of much of these funds remains a mystery to the operatives. In the confidential correspondence sent to the President, SINSE operatives request that José Eduardo dos Santos agrees to attend a meeting with them, so that they can explain their grievances and the institutional impediments preventing them from doing their work. In advance, SINSE officials reveal that the current head of the institution, Sebastião Martins, rarely comes to the office, and when he does, he lacks motivation and authority. Last October, […]

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Trafigura and the Angolan Presidential Mafia

In two years of operations in Angola, Pumangol has become a leading player in the marketing of Angolan oil, as well as in the distribution of oil products in the country. This company is a joint venture between multinational Puma Energy, a subsidiary of Swiss based company Trafigura, and its Angolan counterpart Cochan. In August 2010, President José Eduardo dos Santos authorized a total of five investment contracts worth US$ 931 million, by multinational Puma Energy and its Angolan partner Cochan. In  a country ranked among the 15 worst in the world to do business, the rapid success of Trafigura and its subsidiary Pumangol  is, by its own right, a case study and one for an in-depth investigation into its dealings with the presidential inner circle. The Geneva-based company benefits of a swap contract with Sonangol. Trafigura receives Angolan crude oil (in unknown quantities) in exchange for delivering all petroleum […]

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Executive Jets for Manuel Vicente’s Wine

Carlos Duarte: The vice-presidential candidate, Manuel Vicente has expensive taste in fine wines and cognacs. From time to time, Manuel Vicente sends an executive jet to France and Portugal (the luxurious Falcon-900 or the sophisticated Falcon X-7) for the exclusive transportation of wine and cognac for his personal consumption. The flights are operated by VipAir, a company part owned by Sonangol, and no passengers are allowed to travel on those flights. Some recent examples highlight how the current minister of State for Economic Coordination and probable successor to José Eduardo dos Santos at the presidency of the republic and the MPLA, is completely indifferent to the living conditions of the majority of Angolan citizens, who don’t even have access to clean drinking water. In Paris, the crew of the Falcon-900, on a mission to collect wine and cognac for Manuel Vicente, was not allowed to transport a second VipAir crew […]

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The Angolans’ Exclusive Building in Estoril Sol

Displays of wealth by nouveau riche Angolans have become legendary in Portugal in recent years. Angolan leaders and their families and business associates have been buying up some of the country’s most opulent properties. A typical case is that of Estoril Sol Residence, a luxury housing complex comprising three buildings of a distinctive and controversial design in Estoril, a coastal suburb of Lisbon. The complex contains some of Portugal’s most expensive apartments, priced at between one million and five million euros per unit. The complex, opened two years ago, is well known as “the Angolans’ building”, since Angolans are the main property owners there, holding title to about 30 apartments. An investigation by Maka Angola has revealed the names of the rich Angolans who own property in Estoril Sol Residence. The Minister of Public Administration, Employment and Social Security, António Domingos Pitra Costa Neto, is the owner of five apartments […]

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