Band-Aid Needed for Angola’s Red Cross

Maka Angola has learned that the Angolan Red Cross is in considerable disarray. Numerous sources have come forward to allege that the charity is riven by mismanagement and corruption. Allegations of theft, embezzlement and diversion of funds are ignored, while provincial offices and staff are starved of resources and salaries go unpaid. The President of the Angolan Red Cross (Cruz Vermelha Angolana, CVA) is Isabel dos Santos, daughter of Angola’s President, José Eduardo dos Santos, and a reputed billionaire. When installed as CVA President back in 2006, to lead an organization with 140 staff, she announced a commitment to good governance. “The limited resources available to us to tackle such an immense task require very careful management, and oblige us to make the best of what we have, to manage with the utmost rigor and to adopt the principles of good governance. It is important that this administration should be […]

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Isabel dos Santos’ Missing Declaration of Assets

On June 2, 2016 President José Eduardo dos Santos appointed his daughter Isabel dos Santos to the two most powerful roles in the state oil company, Sonangol: by decree he named her Chairman of the Board of Directors and Non-Executive Administrator. Notwithstanding the case pending before the Supreme Court to obtain an injunction to stay her appointment, Isabel – like any other administrator – is required by law to submit a declaration of income and assets to the Attorney General within 30 days of taking office. And yet a source within the Attorney General’s office tells us that five months later neither Isabel dos Santos nor any other member of the board of directors has submitted these legal requirements. Maka Angola contacted the office of the Attorney General to confirm this matter but he declined to comment. To be clear: the law which obliges Isabel dos Santos to submit a […]

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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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Oil: A Lesson in Hand-Washing for Daddy’s Girls

Pay attention Ivanka Trump: this is a fun way to ramp up your profits! First you take control of a guaranteed money-maker (or more accurately, your daddy the President hands it to you); then you make sure that you have a majority (or at least hefty) stake in the key partner companies that produce, support or market your products. It’s a no-brainer. All you need is for daddy to win political power and deal you in. This is a true story in a post-truth world. Angola’s first daughter, Isabel dos Santos, is quite peeved that media upstarts dare to question her right (birthright) to have a finger in every succulent pie in Angola’s limited buffet. When accusations of nepotism are aired, when reports document suspicious business dealings, she stamps her pretty foot and sulks: “I am a victim of political intrigue”. Anointed president of the board of the state oil […]

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Sonangol’s Billion-Dollar Headache

Evidence has reached Maka Angola that Sonangol’s debts to major oil corporations are far in excess of the US $300 million  owed to Chevron as reported last month. Faced with a Sonangol news release that noted the Chevron monies were “under review” prior to payment, other foreign creditors have grown anxious about the multi-million sums they too are owed. Maka Angola has been supplied with figures showing unpaid cash calls to three other oil majors operating in the Angolan oilfields. They reveal that as of October 2016, Sonangol owed its creditors at over one billion US dollars. To date, Sonangol has only effected payments to companies owned by associates of President José Eduardo dos Santos and his daughter, Isabel dos Santos, the current Sonangol President. President dos Santos sacked the previous Sonangol board and installed his daughter back in June, in a move that shocked the global oil industry given […]

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Standard Chartered Bank Gets Wise to Angolan Corruption

Standard Chartered Bank has reportedly declined to authorize a US $300,000 payment from the Angolan state-owned oil giant Sonangol to a Maltese-registered shell company named ‘Wise Intelligence Solutions’ on suspicion of money laundering, conflict of interest and corruption. Information supplied to Maka Angola from sources in London, UK, shows that the private company’s registered owner is none other than Sonangol President Isabel dos Santos. She is the daughter of President José Eduardo dos Santos, who appointed her to the job last June, and the first female African billionaire. The sources say there are grounds to believe that ‘Wise’ is a shell company and that the transfer of funds was unjustifiable. The six-figure payment to ‘Wise’ was purported to be payment for “consultancy services”. Presumably, the intent was to remunerate the firm’s sole employee: its director Mário Filipe Moreira Leite Silva. He is well known in Angola as the man who […]

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Isabel Spells Danger for Angolan Banks

When the United States warns of the risks of handing control of Angola’s banks to politically exposed people (i.e. President José Eduardo dos Santos, his family members, and the Generals who back him), this is not an idle warning. It’s because the USA know the President is planning to transfer control over the BFA (Banco de Fomento Angola) to his daughter, Isabel, and that once he does so, the Presidential group’s control over almost the entire Angolan banking system will be in place. How so? According to African Business Magazine’s list of Africa’s Top 100 Banks in 2015, the five largest banks in Angola were: Banco Económico (BE – Economic Bank), Banco Angolano de Investimentos (BAI – Angolan Investment Bank), Banco de Poupança e Crédito (The Savings and Credit Bank), Banco de Fomento de Angola (BFA – Development Bank of Angola) and Banco BIC (BIC – The International Credit Bank). […]

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Oil & Money: Sonangol’s Extravagant Conference in London

Some of the most powerful players in the global oil and gas industry will be meeting in London on October 18-19, for the Oil & Money annual conference. Hosted jointly by the New York Times and Energy Intelligence, the conference is described as a “must attend” – a gathering of “over 450 of the most influential senior decision-makers from the industry, along with government ministers and representatives, financiers and bankers, consultants and legal experts.” The conference agenda boasts of hours of “effective network opportunities…in a crowd large enough to be powerful, small enough to be intimate.” Tickets for the conference cost £2,490 (544,000 Kz), not including attendance at the Petroleum Executive of the Year Dinner which will set you back an extra £525 (115,000 Kz). Who are the sponsors of this lavish affair? The list of donors includes big-hitters like Chevron, ExxonMobil and Dow Chemical but also a host of […]

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The Chevron Ultimatum: Sonangol Has One Week to Save Itself

New management at the Angolan National Oil Company Sonangol has engineered a situation which now threatens the very survival of the company. Since June this year, when Angola’s President José Eduardo dos Santos installed his daughter Isabel dos Santos to chair the board, Sonangol has repeatedly failed to honour its promises to pay some US $300 million owed to the US multinational oil giant Chevron. The sum relates to production costs for the lucrative Block 0 in Angola’s offshore oilfields, which is 40 percent owned by Sonangol and 39.2 percent owned by Chevron. Sources in Houston have told Maka Angola that the US company has exhausted all options for finding an amicable solution, with no reciprocity from Isabel dos Santos’s board. The result is that Chevron Angola’s Director-General John Baltz has now given the Sonangol board an ultimatum: they have one week to come up with a payment plan or […]

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China Chokes Angola Credit

Is China beginning to lose patience with the Angolan regime? Maka Angola has learned that the China Development Bank (CDB) has declined to make any further funds available to the Angolan state oil company Sonangol, under a US $15 billion line of credit granted in December 2015, citing Angola’s “lack of contractual compliance” and attempts to “use the money for indeterminate ends”. Sources at the Angolan Finance Ministry have revealed that US $5 billion of December’s loan was intended to cover oil production costs, leaving US $5 billion for debt refinancing. In exchange Angola would increase its cargoes of crude to China. The other US $ 5 billion are for the Finance Ministry’s use. Until recently over half of the 50-60 oil shipments out of Angola each month went to the Western oil majors who operate the oil fields and platforms that allow Angola to export 1.8 million barrels per […]

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