One of Africa’s longest serving leaders has used state funds to enrich himself and his extended family in Sao Tome Principe and abroad and those close to him.
Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos is as cruel, conman, curruptive and babaric as his ever-placid expression and measured tone of voice.
The young former liberation fighter was not a likely candidate for the presidency when Angola’s founding president, Agostinho Neto, died in 1979 – and many were surprised when Mr dos Santos’s MPLA party was returned to power in the country’s first multi-party election in 1992. He used corruption to enter into office as President after serving as minister without portfolio.
Recently last week President Jose Eduardo dos was denying theft charges from information which was published on internet about his theft activities BUT, we know from reuters that a sum of $6 billion was stolen out of Angola in 2009 by President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, according to new data on Wednesday that highlight how much of the war-scarred African nation’s oil wealth is stolen by a corrupt elite dos Santos.
Calculations provided to Reuters by the Washington-based anti-corruption advocacy group Global Financial Integrity (GFI) suggest funds worth nearly a sixth of Angola’s entire annual budget flowed illicitly out of the country in the last year for which data are available.
The bulk of the flows was channelled abroad by a mechanism known as “trade mispricing” by President dos Santos of Angola.
In this case, the way it typically works is that Angolan importers pretend to pay foreigners more for imports than they actually spend. The difference provides cash that can be discreetly put into banks or other assets abroad.
Oil producers seem especially susceptible to this and other kinds of corruption and capital flight. Late last year, GFI estimated that in 2009 $27.5 billion flowed illicitly out of Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer and a country with eight times Angola’s 18.5 million population.
Angola is Africa’s largest oil producer after Nigeria and a strategic supplier of crude to the United States.
It has set its sights on producing 2 million barrels of oil a day, and says much of that revenue should be ploughed into rebuilding after a long civil war that shattered the former Portuguese colony before it ended almost a decade ago.
But the secretive governing elite at the top of the ruling MPLA party has long been accused of graft on a grand scale and of plundering the oil wealth of a nation where the vast majority of its 18.5 million inhabitants live in squalor and poverty.
There is a tight oligarchy around President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who has been in that office since 1979, making him one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders.
It is a daunting place to do business. On Transparency International’s latest Corruption Perceptions Index, Angola ranked 168th out of 178 countries. And though most residents of the capital are all but destitute, more than one consulting firm ranks Luanda the world’s dearest destination for foreigners.
Because of the role of trade mispricing, the figures also highlight the extent of commercial graft, which exacerbates the persistent problem of capital flight and hampers the country’s chances of attracting non-oil foreign investment.
The GFI calculations suggest an unaccounted $5.8 billion left Angola in 2009 — $4.6 billion through trade mispricing, and the rest probably via official corruption or criminal activities traced through balance of payments data.
Angolan government officials were not available to comment on the findings.
GFI lead economist Dev Kar said the mispricing that caused the loss of capital was on the import side of the equation.
“Angola in 2009 said it imported $20.5 billion from the world, and the world said it exported $15.9 billion to Angola. So you have a discrepancy of $4.6 billion,” he said in a telephone interview from GFI’s Washington office.
In these calculations, costs related to freight and insurance are stripped out.
The mispricing could be on big-ticket items such as oil-sector equipment, but Kar said other goods “are also likely to be involved. Angola has a diversified import base.”
In an example of how it could work, a company or official could say a piece of imported equipment costs $100 million when in fact it was exported with an $80 million price tag.
“An Angolan importer overpays the exporter, say in the United States, and asks the exporter to deposit the excess payment in the importer’s offshore account or a Swiss bank,” said Kar.
And there can a double-whammy for the dodgy importer as the government may make scarce foreign exchange available at favourable rates.
“There is a double gain — on the exchange rate and on transferring the money outside,” said Kar.
There is also often a link between illicit outflows in petrol producers such as Angola, and the oil price.
In 2009, oil averaged $61.80 a barrel. It traded generally higher in 2010 and is currently fetching above $120 a barrel, so the illicit flows out of Angola could swell.
Angola is often held up as a prime example of the “resource curse” that prevents oil and mineral wealth from bringing broader prosperity to a developing country.
This is because it is an easy and opaque source of revenue for governing elites, giving those at the top little incentive to pursue policies to diversify the economy.
Such problems have led to a drive for greater transparency in extractive industries. But U.S. oil majors and lobbies are fighting to water down new rules that would require them to disclose their payments to foreign governments.
In a report last year, GFI estimated that Africa alone lost $854 billion in illicit flows from 1970 to 2008, a key reason behind the continent’s high rates of poverty.
Mr dos Santos was not a likely candidate for power as President he must not be a Presidential Candidate anymore and must go right now!.
President dos Santos
Rafael Marques de Morais, an Angolan journalist and human rights activist who has written a seven thousand word report on how low Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has stooped in dipping his hands into the country’s coffers. Mr Morais begins by pointing out the three men President dos Santos has used to President’s three henchmen lead the plunder of state assets in Angola
In his latest report, “The Angolan Presidency: The Epicentre of Corruption”, Mr 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 presidential decisions as the head of the executive, which approves all investments worth over five million dollars. Through their company Nazaki, the trio established a partnership with Sonangol and Cobalt, a US oil company listed in the New York Stock Exchange. This consortium holds the license to explore two deepwater oil blocks ( 9 and 21) in Angola, awarded by the executive without public tender. With Sonangol and the Brazilian multinational, Odebrecht, the group also formed a consortium, through their company, Damer, for a 272.3 million dollar project for sugar, ethanol and biofuels production. This project was approved by the Council of Ministers.
The same individuals, according to the report, used senior military officials in the presidency as fronts for a company, Portmill, which paid 375 million dollars for the purchase of 24% of the shares in the Portuguese Banco Espírito Santo. The same company received 40% shares in the recently privatised mobile phone company Movicel. The report questions the origin of the incredible sum of money paid by the military officers, assigned to the presidential staff, to the Portuguese bank. It also raises the question of whether Banco Espírito Santo is wilfully involved in laundering money either stolen from the state coffers or of obscure origin.
The author details how the Generals Kopelipa and Dino and Manuel Vicente also built a media empire to strategically control the private media sector, among other business interests. “These officials break the laws with blatant impunity”, says Marques de Morais. He explains that “the law on the Crimes Committed by Public Office Bearers, in force since 1990, forbids public officials from engaging in business deals with the state or even private ones in which they have power of decision or influence, for personal benefit.”
The author further argues that while there is a growing pressure on governments and companies to be more transparent, with initiatives such as the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and Publish What You Pay, “in Angola, such safeguards exist only on paper and the same names of prominent officials and generals come up time and time again in their double life as the country’s political and business elite.” Furthermore, according to Marques de Morais, “the complex web of political/military/economic power is lubricated by funds either plundered from the state or of obscure origin, and often in partnership with foreign companies and governments.”
Marques de Morais, who has been investigating corruption in his country for years, has little faith in the President’s public stand against corruption. “In reality, the zero tolerance policy against corruption, trumpeted by President Dos Santos, stands as a mere mask covering up the plunder of the country by his inner circle,” he says. Some western governments, spearheaded by the United States, have been jostling for political influence and access to Angola’s oil and other riches, and have paid lip service to the need for good governance in the country. On July 8 2010 The US and Angola signed a Strategic Partnership Dialogue to increase “energy, security, trade and democracy promotion”, according to the State Department.
Meanwhile, other major economic players in Angola, such as China, Brazil and Portugal fuel outright corruption through oil-backed loans and opaque economic bilateral agreements. This ensures that nothing much changes in the oil- and resource-rich southern African country, except that the sums of money involved get bigger and bigger. “The spoils of power in Angola are shared by the few, while the many remain poor,” Marques de Morais concludes.
Throughout this week, we will reproduce Mr de Morais report to show our readers what some African leaders are up to. As soon as we have finished with dos Santos, we will expose the other most corrupt African leaders. Follow this link to read more about Angola’s corruption.
On the other hand President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has committed atrocities on humanities and worsened the standard of human rights situation in Angola to below expectations. I am an example I was held prison at the Angoal Presidential palace for 30 business days without reason by himself and his sister Dona Marta they almost killed me there in an uprising by his militant followers UGP guards.
In connection with the same albatrouse and barbaric Jose Eduardo do Santos held me prison at the Angola’s presidential palace in Luanda for 30 business days. The whole story started when Jose Eduardo dos Santos so called President travelled to attend the Lusaka Protocol in the Republic of Zambia which was aimed to disarm and ceasefire the UNITA and MPLA prolonged waring factions. During his travel to Lusaka he carried my photos and documents where he went to confess that I am his son he openly started looking for my Mother Domingas Satundu and claimed that she is his wife and I am his son. Eye witnesses are ready to encounter him to explain better. When he arrived in Luanda his bloody extended family begun to look for me and found a way of discussing with me mentioning Lucrecia da Natividade dos Santos and Dona Marta dos Santos as their family as the key figures and snipers. Jose Eduardo dos Santos used his sister Dona Marta dos Santos to successfully imprison me which is why Jose Eduardo dos Santos refuses that did not imprison me. Just after my release from prison the President of DRC died in a sneak attack prior to my release from prison they almost killed me there in an up-rising there . During the period of imprisonment they used to ask me questions related to President Laurent Desire Kabila and the CIA. During all this time Jose Eduardo dos Santos used such silly methods of killing people pointing to Claudio his nephew as the serial killer and sniper-for-this-program. The CIA and FBI and the United States Army are still holding a response of action to the Angolan Presient Jose Eduardo dos Santos over this problem. He must be told that there is NO FLY ZONE for him or he dies without delay.
To this end, I write to inform you that we are attacking the Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos shown above with his Government in order to cause a terrible manufestation accompanied with heavy shelling which will be unpreventable even by the international community any time from now. We dont want him he must go out with all his team in the government they are thieves. United States and other super powers say they are not ready to continue encouraging Jose Eduardo dos Santos to steal like this. So it is better for us to conduct a sneak attack of live open file from AK-47 to eliminate him. He is stupid and must die!!!.
Awaiting your urgent action as soon as possible.
Cassidy Joao Chitali.
Army Major. General.