Corruption in Angola
Corruption in Angola is a pervasive phenomenon, hindering economic growth and government-sponsored liberalization programs.
1970 - 1990
The Soviet press, despite the close relationship between Angola and the USSR, accused the ruling MPLA party of clientelism, corruption, and nepotism, accusing the government of illicitly accumulating US$1 billion. Ogonek said that "corruption has flourished on a scale which is unprecedented even in Africa... the ruling party in Angola... being pro-communist by nature, was ready to sacrifice everything and everybody."
1990 - 2000
In April 1999 Gustavo Costa, a journalist for Expresso, wrote an article entitled Corruption Makes Victims, accusing José Leitāo, the chief presidential advisor, of embezzling government revenue. Police arrested Costa and charged him with difamação and injúria. The Angolan Supreme Court found him guilty, sentencing him to eight-months imprisonment, suspended for two years, and fined him $2,000. Rafael Marques, a journalist and human rights activist, wrote "The Lipstick of the Dictatorship", an article criticizing corruption in the Angolan government and President José Eduardo dos Santos, on July 3.
The National Criminal Investigation Division (DNIC) questioned him on October 13 for several hours before releasing him. Later that day Morais gave an interview with Radio Ecclésia and repeated his criticism of the dos Santos government. Twenty armed members of the Rapid Intervention Police arrested him along with Aguiar dos Santos, the publisher of Agora, and Antonio José Freitas, Agora staff reporter, on charges of defamation on October 16, 1999. Marques said dos Santos bore responsibility for the "destruction of the country... for the promotion of incompetence, embezzlement and corruption as political and social values."
In May 1999 the World Bank threatened to cut off aid to Angola if the government did not take serious steps to counter corruption, beginning with an audit of the petroleum and diamonds industries, Angola's primary sources of income.
2000 - 2010
In 2002 the International Monetary Fund found the Angolan government could not account for more than US$900 million in 2006 due to "extensive corruption". Bestos de Almeida, spokesman for the Angolan Finance Ministry, denied any financial inconsistency existed. Transparency International's (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) for 2003 found the governments of Angola and Zimbabwe the most corrupt in Southern Africa. On a scale of 0 to 10 with 0 the most corrupt and 10 the most transparent, TI rated Angola 1.8 and Zimbabwe 2.3, some of the highest corruption ratings in the world.
In 2004, Human Rights Watch found the government could not account for US$4 billion spent between 1997 and 2002. Transparency International ranked Angola 142 out of 163 countries in the Corruption Perception Index just after Venezuela and before the Republic of the Congo with a 2.2 rating. The Heritage Foundation gave a 47.1% "free" rating in its Index of Economic Freedom in 2008. An International Human Rights Watch official described Angola as having an ongoing corruption problem. Transparency International ranked Angola 1.9 in their 2010 corruption perception index, making Angola the fourth most corrupt country in Southern Africa and one of the top 12 world wide.
Financial fraud at BNA
In the largest financial fraud in Angola ever, the Central Bank of Angola was victim of an alleged fraud case of about $160 million that were transferred to overseas accounts in 2009. It was discovered that from the Angolan treasury account at Banco Espírito Santo in London, were leaving several money transfers to bank accounts abroad, controlled by the suspects. When the bill reached the minimum values of the BNA, it was the BES London itself that warned the authorities of Angola for successive outflows of money. The case of fraud was revealed by the Portuguese newspaper Diário de Notícias in June 2011. Several individuals at the Angolan Finance Ministry and the BNA in Luande were sentenced up to eight years in prison in 2011. There are still investigations going on in Portugal and Angola.
2010 - present
It was reported by Human Rights Watch and has subsequently been admitted by the Angolan government, that US$32 billion in oil revenue (a quarter of Angola’s GDP) has gone missing and cannot be accounted for. Though a clue of what might have happened comes from a 2010 US senate report into corruption and money laundering which found that, "Aguinaldo Jaime, who served as the governor of the National Bank of Angola from 1999 to 2002 initiated a series of suspicious US$ 50 million transactions with US banks. For each attempt, the banks, concerned about the likelihood of fraud, ultimately rejected the transfer or returned the money shortly after receiving it. During Mr Jaime’s three-year tenure as central bank governor, the government could not account for approximately US$ 2.4 billion.”
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- James, W. Martin (2004). Historical Dictionary of Angola. p. 41.
- "Marques gets six months for defaming president". Committee to Protect Journalists. Retrieved 2008-01-21.
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- Vines, Alex (1999). Angola Unravels: The Rise and Fall of the Lusaka Peace Process. Human Rights Watch. p. 93.
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- Angola Sentences Former Central Bank Officials to Jail for Fraud Bloomberg Online, retrieved 2 August 2011
- Milhões do Banco de Angola deram a volta ao mundo ("Millions of the Central Bank of Angola on the way round the world") Diário de Notícias, 3 February 2012, page 19 (Portuguese)
- Corruption still fuels Angola's poverty afrol.com, 13 April 2012
- The Eurofiscal Corruption Contest – The Portuguese Entry Golem XIV, 15 June 2012