Tag Archives: Angola-Portugal

Angola says charges against Vice-President amount to an attack by Portugal

Reuters

Angola says Portugal decision to charge vice president a ‘serious attack’

LUANDA Angola said on Friday that Portugal’s decision to charge its Vice President Manuel Vicente with corruption and money laundering was a “serious attack” that threatened relations between the two states.

A foreign affairs ministry statement said Angola “considers unfriendly and nonsensical the way the Portuguese authorities conveyed this news which constitutes a serious attack on the Republic of Angola and is likely to disrupt the good relations existing between the two states.”

The prosecutor general’s office in Lisbon last week said it was charging Vicente, who is accused of bribing a magistrate when he was chief executive of state oil company Sonangol.

Vicente is a powerful figure in Angola, Africa’s second-biggest crude producer, but he is no longer seen as a successor to President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who said earlier this month he would not run in this year’s presidential election, calling an end to 38 years as head of state.

The ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) approved Defence Minister Joao Lourenco, 62, as its presidential candidate instead of Vicente, at one time seen as the next in line.

Angola is a former Portuguese colony and has branded previous attempts by Portugal to investigate Vicente as “revenge by the former colonial master” and “neo-colonialism”.

Rights groups and financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund have frequently raised concerns about graft and the squandering of oil revenues in Angola, where most of the population lives in abject poverty.

(Reporting by Herculano Coroado; Writing by Ed Stoddard; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

Angola – Portugal laying corruption charges against V-P Vicente

BBC


Angola Vice President Manuel Vicente -AFP

Manuel Vicente was tipped by some to be Angola’s next president

Portuguese state prosecutors are bringing corruption charges against Angola’s vice-president Manuel Vicente.

The attorney-general’s office says that Mr Vicente paid $810,000 (£650,000) in bribes to shut down corruption investigations that he was facing.

The alleged bribes were made to Portugal’s former public prosecutor Orlando Figueira, who also faces charges as part of “Operation Fizz”.

Mr Vicente’s lawyer has denied the allegations, Portuguese media report.

More on this and other African stories

Elite hoard Angola’s new-found wealth

Mr Vicente served as head of Angola’s state oil company Sonangol from 1999 until 2012, a hugely influential position now occupied by the president’s daughter Isabel Dos Santos.

Until news of the corruption scandal emerged last year, he had been strongly tipped as a potential successor to President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who has ruled Angola since 1979.

The original corruption investigation, halted in 2012, focused on the origin of money Mr Vicente used to buy a luxury apartment in Lisbon, local media reported.
Isabel dos Santos now occupies the post long held by Mr Vicente

The vice-president’s lawyer, Rui Patricio, said his client had not been notified of any charges being brought against him, describing the move as a “procedural violation” which “invalidated the legal process”, local media report.

Portuguese prosecutors say they intend to notify the vice-president of the charges via the Angolan authorities.

Angola has branded previous attempts by Portugal to investigate Mr Vicente as “revenge by the former colonial master” and “neo-colonialism”.

Angola’s political and financial elite have in recent years invested hundreds of millions of dollars in Portugal, Angola’s former colonial ruler.

The investments have largely gone into buying up property and Portuguese companies.

Angola and Nigeria are Africa’s biggest oil producers.

Despite its oil wealth most people in Angola survive on less than $2 a day and child mortality rates are among the highest in the world

Critics accuse President Jose Eduardo dos Santos of being increasingly authoritarian.

Angola hints at trade cuts in corruption row with Portugal

Mail and Guardian

Angola has suggested that trade between it and its former coloniser could be at risk after it emerged that Portugal was investigating its officials.

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Angola’s President José Eduardo dos Santos. (AFP)

Angola’s President José Eduardo dos Santos on Tuesday hinted that tensions with Portugal endangered preferential trade ties between the two countries.

“With Portugal, unfortunately things are not going well,” said Dos Santos in a State of the Nation address delivered in Parliament.

“There have been misunderstandings at the highest level of the state and the current political climate does not encourage the implementation of the previously announced strategic partnerships,” said Dos Santos.

Portugal and its former colony in south-west Africa were mulling their first bilateral summit next year after announcing plans to bolster trade relations.

But sentiments soured between the two in the uproar that followed Portugal’s Foreign Minister Rui Machete’s September interview with Angolan radio in which he apologised for his country’s probe into Angolan government officials.

Angola’s wealthy are pushing millions of dollars into the struggling economy of their former colonial power, but critics have raised questions about corrupt Angolan revenues used in the investments.

In November last year, Portuguese media exposed investigations into fraud and money-laundering, targeting especially Angola’s Vice-President Manuel Vicente.

‘Unfortunate expression’ After the abortive September interview, Portugal’s Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho said Machete had used an “unfortunate expression” in an attempt to appease Angola.

But on Tuesday, Dos Santos, in power for 34 years, brushed off the concerns as driven by Western racism.

“Organisations from Western countries have deliberately caused an uproar to intimidate Africans who want to accumulate assets and become rich,” he said.

“So the general idea has been created that a rich African man is corrupt and should be suspected of corruption.”

Portugal expressed “surprise” at Dos Santos’ statements.

“The government reiterates its past and present commitment to the good relations between Portugal and Angola,” it said in a statement.

Increased trade Trade between Lisbon and Luanda has steadily increased in recent years amid the financial crisis in Portugal and strong economic growth in Angola, the continent’s second-largest oil producer after Nigeria.

Luanda exports oil to Lisbon while importing food and consumer goods. It has also invested heavily in Portuguese real estate and banks.

More than 100 000 Portuguese nationals live in Angola and nearly 1 000 businesses are based there.

Critics in Portugal questioned their country’s soft stance towards the Dos Santos regime, saying most of his people live in poverty.

Meanwhile, Angolans accuse Lisbon of tackling its unemployment by “exporting” jobless Portuguese to the former colony.  – AFP  M&G

Angola’s Dos Santos attacks Portugal over investigation of Angolan corruption

BBC

Angola’s president has said ties with former colonial ruler Portugal are “not well”, amid tensions over Lisbon’s investigation of Angolan officials.

Jose Eduardo Dos Santos said “the current political climate” was not conducive to building a strategic relationship.

He said that Western nations fed the perception that “a rich African man is corrupt”.

Portugal’s government has expressed “surprise” at the remarks.

It said it had been working hard to foster relations, citing what it said were the “special ties that unite the two peoples” and the strategic importance of good relations for both sides.

Kowtowing

Last week, Portugal’s Foreign Minister Rui Machete was called before a parliamentary committee in Lisbon after he expressed regret in an interview in Angola about a corruption probe by Portuguese prosecutors that was said to involve top Angolan officials.

The BBC’s Alison Roberts in Lisbon says some in Portugal saw his comments as kowtowing to Angola’s growing power while infringing judicial independence.

Portuguese opposition parties called for Mr Machete to resign.

Ex-colonial brothers in business

Angola

Population: 18.9 million
Area: 1.25m sq km (481,354 sq miles)
GNI per capita: $3,830 (2011)
Investments in Portugal: $156m in 2009; $2m in 2002
President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos in power since 1979
Portugal

Population: 10.7 million
Area: 92,345 sq km (35,655 sq miles)
GNI per capita: $21,250 (2011)
Biggest trading partner outside EU: Angola
Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho in power since June 2011
Graduates flee Portugal in search of work
Angola profile
Country profile: Portugal

Angola’s state-run Jornal de Angola newspaper then published a scathing editorial dismissing Portugal’s elite as ignorant and corrupt.

Even so, observers in Lisbon were taken aback by President dos Santos’s decision to join in the criticism, our reporter says.

The Angolan officials being investigated in Portugal have not been named.

But Angola’s Minister for External Relations, Georges Chicotty, denied that President Dos Santos’ comments were directly linked to the legal probes in Portugal.

“We don’t intervene in any Portuguese political issues,” he told BBC Focus on Africa programme.

However, Mr Chicotty added: “We have right now 250,000 Portuguese living in Angola, doing businesses. And none of them has ever been prosecuted or investigated whatsoever. I think that’s the balance that you need.”

BBC Angola analyst Zenaida Machado says that President Dos Santos’ comments show that Luanda now feels strong enough to stand up to its former colonial master.

Angola and Portugal are major trading partners, with many investors from oil-rich Angola buying stakes in Portuguese companies.

Angola’s economy is continuing to grow, although more slowly than predicted this year.

Meanwhile, debt-ridden Portugal has been hit hard by the continuing eurozone financial crisis. The government has been trying to introduce a wide range of reforms after agreeing a multibillion bailout.

In 2011, Angola offered Lisbon its help to cope with the crisis.

Despite its growing economy and the huge wealth of a tiny elite, most Angolans live on about $2 (£1.25) a day.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-24540361

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