Angola Commences Corruption Trial Of Ex-President’s Son

Angola Ex-President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos

 

The son of former Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos appeared in court on Monday, at the start of his trial on corruption charges.

It is the first time a member of the dos Santos family appears in dock since President Joao Lourenco came to power in 2017, part of a wave of change that has followed his arrival.

Jose Filomeno dos Santos, 41, also known as “Zenu” is accused of having tried to steal $1.5 billion (1.3 billion euros) from Angola’s sovereign wealth fund during the time that he ran it.

He appeared before the Supreme Court along with three codefendants, who also face charges of money laundering and embezzlement — one of them former central bank governor Valter Filipe da Silva.

Zenu was appointed head of the $5 billion fund in 2013, 34 years into his father’s reign.

In January 2018, only months after Lourenco came to power, Zenu was fired from his position. He was arrested in September that year and held in custody for seven months before being released on bail.

Lourenco has launched a large-scale purge of the dos Santos administration, during which key sectors of the economy were awarded to the former president’s close allies and relatives.

Zenu’s half-sister Isabel dos Santos was ousted from her position as chair of the state oil giant Sonangol even sooner, in November 2017.

Cited as the richest woman in Africa, she is also being investigated for embezzlement.

She has since quit Angola for Britain, from where she has denounced Lourenco, saying she has been censored in the Angolan press and alleging that she quit the country because she had received death threats.

Lourenco is struggling to wean Angola’s economy off of oil, which accounts for one-third of the former Portuguese colony’s GDP and more than 90 percent of exports.

The country is still recovering from a 27-year civil war, which ended in 2002, and the global fall in oil prices in 2014.

Despite extensive oil, gas and mineral reserves, the majority of Angolans live in poverty and continue to rely on subsistence agriculture.

Most members of the dos Santos family have moved abroad.

Nigeria To Play Angola, Gabon At Handball Nations Cup

 

Nigeria will play in group B with Angola, Gabon and Libya at the 24th edition of the Men’s Senior Handball Africa Nations Cup scheduled for 15th to 25th January 2020 in Tunisia.

The tournament will also serve as African qualifiers for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and 2021 World Championship in Egypt.

Technical director of the Handball Federation of Nigeria (HFN) Coach Ferdinand Emeana is confident that with good preparations, Nigeria can advance from a group which he described as tricky.

READ ALSO: El Clasico: Barcelona To Battle Real Madrid In December

Coach Emeana has also charged the ministry of sports to support the team with funds to prepare adequately for the tournament so they can impress and ultimately pick a ticket to the Olympics and world championship.

“For me, I wouldn’t say whether the group is cheap or tough. Ours is to give the country a good representation and that means picking a world cup ticket and Olympics ticket.

It’s not going to be easy but the players are determined and the board is determined. What I request is the support of the government”

We need to prepare well to get a good result, I expect that the team will go on playing tour before the championship. Looking at the performance of the team at the last All Africa Games, if well motivated, we’ll stun Africa”. He concluded.

Nigeria reached the quarter-final of the 2019 African games in Morocco and will hope to do better at the Africa Nations Cup.

2020 AFRICAN MEN’S HANDBALL CHAMPIONSHIP

Group A
Egypt
DR Congo
Guinea
Kenya

Group B
Angola
Gabon
Nigeria
Libya

Group C
Tunisia
Cameroon
Ivory Coast
Cape Verde

Group D
Morocco
Algeria
Congo Brazzaville
Senegal
Zambia

Angola Seizes Diamonds, Expels Half A Million Migrants

 

Angolan authorities have expelled more than half a million undocumented migrants in the past year as part of an operation to target diamond smuggling, the government said Friday.

Mineral-rich Angola is a major producer of diamonds but the government believes many are bought and sold illegally by foreigners.

“The authorities have repatriated 527,725 illegal immigrants, closed down 96 illegal diamond cooperatives, four mining projects and 289 shops,” said a spokesman for the presidency, Pedro Sebastiao, during a press conference.

Tens of thousands of diamonds have been seized since Angola’s “Operation Transparency” was launched in September 2018.

Angola’s government says the move is meant to regulate the mining industry by tackling illegal mining operations and undocumented migration.

It was launched by President Joao Lourenco, who came to power in 2017 and has been struggling to revive the country’s faltering economy.

Human Rights Watch condemned the operation as “abusive”, saying more than 400,000 people were either forcibly deported or pushed to flee to neighbouring DR Congo in October last year.

The government has repeatedly denied the allegations.

The mandate for Operation Transparency was extended to Angola’s coastline in March to fight “illegal fishing, the smuggling of goods and fuel and drug trafficking,” said Sebastiao.

A total of 356 fishing boats have been seized, he added.

Sub-saharan Africa’s second-largest oil producer was hit hard by a global slump in crude prices in 2014.

Lourenco has so far failed to deliver the economic “miracle” promised during his campaign.

With little economic diversification, the state continues to rely on oil for 70 percent of its revenue.

Nigeria To Boost Bilateral Ties With Angola, Says Foreign Affairs Minister

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama

 

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, says Nigeria will boost bilateral ties with Angola.

Speaking at a meeting with Manuel Augustus, the Angolan Minister of External Relations, Onyeama explained that other partnerships by both countries will be in the areas of peace and security, especially in the Gulf of Guinea.

READ ALSOManufacturers List Poor Electricity, Multiple Taxation As Major Operational Challenges – Survey

“We share the golf of Guinea and this is again an area we will be looking at. The issue of security at the Gulf of Guinea. We will look at other areas of cooperation.

“We have a joint commission which is the framework for bilateral cooperation between our two countries. We obviously need to look at how we will re-ignite which has not met for a number of years,” he stated.

The minister also thanked the Angolan officials and the delegation for the visit to the country.

U17 AFCON: Eaglets Target World Cup Ticket With Victory Against Angola

 

 

Five-time champions Nigeria hopes to make a return to the FIFA U17 World Cup finals with a victory against Angola in their second match at the Africa U17 Cup of Nations in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on Wednesday.

A reproachable slack approach saw the Golden Eaglets slump from a 3-1 lead to conceding three goals and falling behind against host nation Tanzania in the tournament opener on Sunday, but they woke from slumber in good time to win with two spectacular goals and pocket three precious points in a 5-4 win.

Angola’s 1-0 win over Uganda hours later has ensured that the winner of the top-of-the-table duel between Nigeria and Angola on Wednesday would have one leg in the semi-finals and automatically in the FIFA U17 World Cup slated for Brazil later this year.

All four semi-finalists at the ongoing championship in Tanzania will represent Africa in Brazil.

READ ALSO: WAFU Cup: Super Falcons to play Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso

Two-goal hero against Tanzania, Wisdom Ubani and Man-of-the-Match Akinkunmi Ayobami Amoo will be the cynosure of all eyes in the Eaglets’ attacking line on Wednesday. Yet, Ibraheem Jabaar, who slammed in the winning goal against the Serengeti Boys minutes after coming on as a substitute, is also capable of making things happen, just as Olakunle Olusegun, Fawaz Abdullahi and Olatomi Olaniyan.

Nigeria won the Africa U17 Cup of Nations in 2001 in Seychelles and in 2007 in Togo and were world champions in 1985 (China), 1993 (Japan), 2007 (Korea Republic), 2013 (UAE) and 2015 (Chile).

Current Head Coach, Manu Garba was also at the head of the technical team that won in the United Arab Emirates six years ago.

The Eaglets failed to even qualify for the continental finals held in Gabon in 2017, losing to the Niger Republic in the final qualifying round. Mali, Ghana, Guinea and the Niger Republic flew Africa’s flag at the last edition of the FIFA U17 World Cup finals, in India.

Mali edged Ghana in an all –African quarter-final, only to lose 1-3 to Spain in the semi-finals and falter 0-2 to Brazil in the match for third place.

The normally strong Malians, who also finished as tournament runners-up to Nigeria in Chile in 2015, are absent from the finals in Tanzania after losing the available WAFU A slots to Senegal and Guinea.

In Wednesday’s other match of Group A, hosts Tanzania will tackle Uganda in a match of two teams still hunting for their first points at the tournament.

Children, Others Die In Stampede After Angolan Football Match

Angola football fans (file)

 

Two children and three adults were killed in a stampede at a weekend football match in the Angolan capital Luanda, sparking an investigation, authorities said Monday.

The crush occurred Saturday as fans were leaving the CAF Champions League quarter-final match between Primeiro Agosto of Angola and TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the sports ministry said.

The incident “caused the death by asphyxiation of five supporters and caused seven injuries at the end of the match,” the ministry said in a statement.

The two children were aged 10 and 12, it said.

One survivor who gave his name only as Nemo, speaking to TV channel Zimbo from his hospital bed, said: “The exit door was very small, many people fell.”

The history of African football is marked by frequent deadly crowd stampedes. In Angola in February 2017, 17 people were killed and 58 injured near the northern town of Uige ahead of a season-opening match for the national championship.

Earlier this month, at least one person was killed and 37 injured in a stampede ahead of an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Madagascar’s capital Antananarivo.

And in July last year, eight people were killed when rival supporters clashed during Senegal’s League Cup final, and a stampede caused a wall to fall on escaping fans.

The scramble came after police used tear gas to clear the area surrounding the stadium.

In 2009, 19 people died in the Ivorian economic capital Abidjan after a crush in a qualifying match for the 2010 World Cup between Ivory Coast and Malawi.

AFP

IMF To Begin Talks With Angola On Financial Support

 

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Tuesday it would begin talks with Angola over providing financial support after the oil-producing country’s economic growth was weaker than expected this year.

Africa’s second-largest oil producer has been hit by lower oil prices, which have caused a dollar liquidity squeeze that has made it difficult for foreign companies to repatriate profits and discouraged many from investing.

Angola’s Finance Ministry said on Monday it had sought financial support from the IMF but did not provide further detail on how much money was involved.

“We expect to initiate programme discussions with the Angolan authorities as soon as feasible,” Deputy Managing Director of the IMF Tao Zhang said in a statement which confirmed the Fund had received a letter from the Angolan authorities to start talks.

The request came after the IMF was invited to Luanda in October to negotiate the programme, which would last for two years and then be extendable for one more.

“The IMF stands ready to help the authorities address Angola’s economic challenges by supporting their economic policies and reforms based on the government’s macroeconomic stabilisation programme and in the national development plan for 2018–22,” Zhang said.

Angola’s economy has struggled due to lower oil prices, a situation made worse by declining production. The output is expected to fall to 1.5 million barrels per day in 2018, down from 1.6 million last year and 1.9 million a decade ago.

The IMF expects the country’s economy to grow 2.2 per cent this year, well below an original government forecast of 4.9 per cent.

President João Lourenço, who took over last September after 38 years of rule by José Eduardo dos Santos, has said he wants to bring about an economic miracle in Angola by opening up to foreign investment and diversifying away from oil.

Angola Loses First Satellite, Plans Successor

FILE PHOTO A Zenit rocket carrying Angosat-1, the first national telecoms satellite for Angola, sitting on its launchpad prior to lift off at the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome. Credit: HO / Roscosmos space agency / AFP

 

Angola on Monday confirmed the premature death of its first national telecoms satellite, Angosat-1, which was launched in December and was expected to have a working life of 15 years.

The Russian-made Angosat-1 struggled with repeated setbacks immediately after its launch from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan.

Contact with the satellite was soon lost and never recovered despite many attempts.

“The satellite remained in orbit from December 26 to 30. After that we had a problem,” Igor Frolov, a representative of manufacturer Energia RSC, said at a press conference in Luanda.

Angolan Telecommunications Minister Jose Carvalho da Rocha immediately announced that the satellite would be replaced by a successor — Angosat-2 — under a new agreement with Russia.

“Building will begin tomorrow at no cost to Angola… it will have more capacity and be more sophisticated than its predecessor,” da Rocha said, adding it would be finished in 18 months.

The Angosat project was founded by Russia and Angola in 2009 and includes a control centre in a suburb of the Angolan capital Luanda.

Angosat-1 had been intended to improve satellite communication, internet access and broadcasting of radio and television across Africa.

Angola draws large revenue from its oil reserves but suffers extreme inequality with UNICEF calculating 38 percent of the population live in poverty.

AFP

Buhari Watches Nigeria Beat Angola To Reach CHAN Semis

Buhari Watches Nigeria Beat Angola To Reach CHAN Semis
President Buhari watching home-based Super Eagles’ football match against Angola

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday watched the home-based Super Eagles football match against Angola in the quarter-final of the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN).

The Nigerian team qualified for the semi-final of the tournament after battling from a goal down to beat their opponents in Morocco.

Eagles looked on the way out of the tournament until Lobi Stars forward Anthony Okpotu equalised in injury time.

Gabriel Okechukwu completed the comeback for the Nigerians with the winning goal in the 110th minute.

Amidst his tight schedules and back-to-back meetings in Addis Ababa, President Buhari found time to follow watch the football match which ended 2-1 in favour of the Eagles.

He also congratulated the Nigerian team on their victory in a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant to on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu.

“President Buhari who watched the match in his hotel room in Addis Ababa after a long day of meetings which started at 8:00 am and ended at 5:30 pm wishes them the very best for the upcoming matches,” the statement said.

The President is in Ethiopia, where he recently told the audience at the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) that corruption was one of the greatest evils the continent was fighting.

Earlier before the football match, Eagles head coach Salisu Yusuf said there was no pressure for his team, but rather motivation to win their quarter-final clash against Angola.

While Yusuf noted that his team understood the mission and would execute it professionally, Coach Srdan Vasiljevic said Angola would approach the game with optimism.

Vasiljevic had also admitted he would be playing his most difficult game at the ongoing African Nations Championship when his side face Nigeria.

2018 CHAN: Nigeria Beat Angola To Qualify For Semi-Finals

2018 CHAN: Nigeria Beat Angola To Qualify For Semi-Finals
File photo

 

Nigeria’s home-based Super Eagles have qualified for the semi-finals of the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN).

The Eagles advanced to the next stage of the tournament on Sunday after battling from a goal down to beat Angola in Morocco.

READ ALSO: Buhari Watches Nigeria Beat Angola To Reach CHAN Semis

Eagles looked on the way out of the tournament until Lobi Stars forward Anthony Okpotu equalised in injury time.

Gabriel Okechukwu completed the comeback for the Nigerians with the winning goal in the 110th minute.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated the Nigerian team on their victory over the Angolans.

The President extended his congratulatory message to the team in a statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant to on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu.

“President Buhari who watched the match in his hotel room in Addis Ababa after a long day of meetings which started at 8:00 am and ended at 5:30 pm wishes them the very best for the upcoming matches,” the statement said.

The President is in Ethiopia, where he recently told the audience at the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) that corruption was one of the greatest evils the continent was fighting.

Earlier before the football match, Eagles head coach Salisu Yusuf said there was no pressure for his team, but rather motivation to win their quarter-final clash against Angola.

While Yusuf noted that his team understood the mission and would execute it professionally, Coach Srdan Vasiljevic said Angola would approach the game with optimism.

Vasiljevic had also admitted he would be playing his most difficult game at the ongoing African Nations Championship when his side face Nigeria.

Angolan President Denies Tensions With Predecessor Despite Clean-Up Campaign

Angolan President Joao Lourenco gives his first press conference after his election on January 8, 2018, to mark his first 100 days in office at the Presidential Palace in Luanda. AMPE ROGERIO / AFP

 

Angolan President Joao Lourenco on Monday denied “any tension” with his long-serving predecessor Jose Eduardo dos Santos, many of whose relatives and friends he has sacked from public office in a fight against corruption in the oil-rich southern African nation.

In November, within three months of taking control of Angola, Lourenco sacked dos Santos’s daughter — Africa’s richest woman — as head of the state-run oil company Sonangol. In recent weeks, he has fired a string of other business figures closely associated with his predecessor.

A long-standing pillar of the regime, the new president had promised to distance himself from the dos Santos clan during his successful campaign ahead of the August 23 poll.

Dos Santos, 75, finally quit power in August after ruling the country for 38 years. He is still head of the ruling MPLA party and has publicly deplored his successor’s “radical” decisions.

“I don’t see any tension in our relations,” Lourenco told a press conference marking 100 days in power.

“The president of the party is guided by the statutes of the party and I as president seek to respect and obey the constitution,” he said, adding that he had “normal working relations” with dos Santos.

Before retiring, dos Santos took care to freeze by law the hierarchy of the security forces for several years. But Lourenco replaced the heads of the police and military intelligence anyway.

Angola, along with Nigeria, is one of Africa’s biggest oil producers, pumping out 1.7 million barrels per day. But the oil wealth has bypassed the overwhelming majority of citizens who live in grinding poverty.

Sonangol has ordered a probe into “possible misappropriation” of funds by Isabel dos Santos, and Lourenco on Monday said the sacking was not politically motivated.

“The person who was replaced isn’t a member of the opposition,” he noted.

He also hinted that dos Santos’s son, Jose Filomeno dos Santos, could be axed as the head of the country’s sovereign investment fund.

“I am not saying I’m going to sack him but it is possible that it could happen,” he said.

Lourenco refused comment on dos Santos’ future as head of the MPLA. In 2016, dos Santos pledged to retire from politics in 2018.

“It’s up to him to say if he will do that, if he upholds his promise,” he said.

AFP

Russia Launches Telecoms Satellite For Angola

Russia Launches Telecoms Satellite For Angola
File photo

 

Russia on Tuesday launched a rocket carrying Angosat-1, the first national telecoms satellite for Angola, from its Baikonur space pad, with rare use of a rocket from Ukraine despite collapsed ties between the two nations.

Live footage aired by Roscosmos space corporation showed the spacecraft take off into the night from the freezing launch pad in Kazakhstan. It reached initial orbit shortly after.

The Zenit-2SB rocket carrying Angosat to orbit was supplied by Ukrainian maker Yuzhmash, making the launch a rare joint project between the two countries since 2014 when Moscow annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula.

The Angosat project was agreed by Russia and Angola in 2009 and includes the satellite, its launch, and on-ground infrastructure in a suburb of the capital Luanda.

The approximately $280-million project has been financed with a credit from Russia’s state banks.

The satellite is designed for a 15-year mission to boost satellite communications, Internet access, radio and TV service.

Around 50 Angolan aerospace engineers trained around the globe, including in Brazil, China, Japan and Russia, will oversee the functioning of the satellite from a control centre built near Luanda.

The launch was initially scheduled for the summer but had been pushed back several times due to delays.

Russia initially wanted to use its new Angara rocket to launch the satellite but opted for the Zenit rocket instead, which is built by Ukrainian contractor Yuzhmash.

The project went ahead despite space cooperation between Russia and Ukraine suspended following the annexation of Crimea and the ongoing conflict with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Angola, which along with Nigeria, is one of Africa’s top oil producers, but many of its citizens are mired in poverty.

AFP