Sums Don’t Add up for Angolan Central Bank

Angola’s central bank, the Banco Nacional de Angola (BNA) has failed to produce its accounts for the second year running, with the current BNA Governor, José de Lima Massano, forced to issue a written explanation to the Angolan President. In so doing, Massano has brought to light a convoluted financial arrangement, sanctioned by one of his predecessors, in which the BNA unlawfully acted as guarantor for a US $200 million foreign loan for a private bank, the Banco de Negócios Internacional (BNI). Angola’s Banking Laws authorize the BNA to intervene to help a private bank only as a lender of last resort to inject liquidity during a temporary crisis, and only on condition that the private bank has sufficient collateral in non-liquid assets. The BNI case did not meet the criteria on any count. It is further alleged that the loan was obtained under false pretences, and that the BNI […]

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The Tyrant’s Dilemma: Stay? No, Please Don’t

He promised he would step down. But the campaign has already begun to re-elect Angola’s President for the past 37 years. “Comrade President, please continue guiding the destiny of our country, asks the nation.” That’s the slogan plastered across the picture of a smiling José Eduardo dos Santos that has appeared on giant billboards in strategic locations across the capital, Luanda, in the past week. It’s all part of a public relations strategy aimed at persuading both Angola and the rest of the world that the increasingly tyrannical MPLA leader really ought to stay in power. Many Angolans were nourishing the faint hope that Dos Santos might be honorable and dignified enough to keep his word that he would voluntarily and peacefully retire from political life in 2018 (by which time he would have spent 39 years as President of Angola). Clearly they were deluded if they thought that a […]

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From the President to his Family: The Drainage Ditch

By Alfredo Muvuma Years ago, a high-ranking MPLA politburo member praised the business acumen of President José Eduardo’s children. More recently, the state-owned and only daily newspaper Jornal de Angola awarded Isabel dos Santos the title of entrepreneur of the year for 2012. In both cases, the objective was to sell the notion that there is a genuine business talent, within the Dos Santos’s family, to accumulate vast wealth. Forbes places Isabel dos Santos as the first Africa’s woman billionaire, which it estimates as the value of her legitimate shares in UNITEL, BIC Bank and in Portugal. Meanwhile, the State Budget Bill for 2013, passed days ago by the National Assembly, uncovers the farce: there is no mystery behind the enrichment of the Dos Santos clan and its entourage. Article 11 of the bill explains, in part, how the Angolan president and his cronies accumulate fortunes without sweating, much less […]

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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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Dos Santos: Nepotism and corruption in CNN Broadcast Deal

President José Eduardo dos Santos’s regime has made great efforts to present Angola to the world as a place of modernity, good governance and prosperity, and as a country that looks after its citizens. Official budget documents show that, for the 2012 fiscal year, Dos Santos has set aside has set aside about US$40 million from the presidency’s budget for an initiative run by his own son and daughter for promoting a positive image of Angola to the world. A private Angolan company, Semba Comunicação, has borne the responsibility of improving the image of the Angolan regime since 2006. The company claims that soon after its launch it presented on CNN International “the campaign that changed the concept of African public relations at the level of the international media”: the “Angola, grow with us” campaign by the National Private Investment Agency (ANIP). Out of the share of the presidential budget […]

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Tchizé dos Santos: Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend

On 5 November 2010 the president of the Republic of Angola, José Eduardo dos Santos, authorised the minister of Mining and Industry to extend the terms of a diamond mining concession in Lunda-Norte province, primarily to the benefit of his daughter Welwitschea José dos Santos, usually known as ‘Tchizé’. Presidential Decree 296/10 of 2 December 2010 ordered a two-year extension to Projecto Muanga’s Licence for Prospecting, Research and Identification for Kimberlite diamonds, in Lunda-Norte province. President dos Santos initially authorised the project on 14 July 2005 as a partnership between the state diamond company Endiama (51 per cent), Sociedade de Desenvolvimento Mineiro – SDM (20 per cent), Odebrecht (19 per cent) and Di Oro (10 per cent). SDM is a joint venture between Endiama and Odebrecht, a Brazilian multinational. Di Oro – Sociedade de Negócios, established in 2003, is owned entirely by Tchizé dos Santos (73.34 per cent), her husband […]

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