Daughter of Agostinho Neto says that lawsuits in Angola "have political substratum"

The daughter of the first Angolan President and the wife of a businessman arrested for corruption said today that "all positions" of judicial bodies in his country have a "political substrate" and that there is "great pressure" in the electoral period.

In an interview with Lusa, Irene Neto, daughter of Agostinho Neto and wife of Luso-Angolan Carlos São Vicente, explained that “all positions taken by judicial bodies, in particular, in this context [the current one], all have a political substrate”, considering that the “decision making” of the court to apply the preventive detention measure to the husband was “hasty”.

“Within a framework of the fight against corruption, a very delicate situation of unemployment, of economic problems, derived from the low price of oil, which is our biggest export product, in the face of a whole youth political contest with demonstrations, there are a whole set of elements that will have precipitated this positioning ”, of the Attorney General of the Republic of Angola, affirmed, not wanting to talk, however, about the differences in political performance of the current Angolan President, João Lourenço, and his predecessor in office , José Eduardo dos Santos.

For Irene Neto, “there is not much positive outlook for the short term” for her country.

In his opinion, these are situations “always difficult to combine with the immediate desire for immediate results for the population, especially young people struggling with a lot of misery, unemployment and lack of hope, of prospects”.

In addition to all of this, "the next year will be one of legislative presidential elections", he said.

As for the husband's case, she recalled that the final charge “does not yet exist” and that the defendant provided all the requested documentation.

For Irene Neto, what happened to her husband was the result of media pressure on the Attorney General of the Republic of Angola.

For Irene Neto, the work that her husband did had “benefits that were notorious and it is a pity that this whole project, that work is being destroyed, because the companies are arrested and apprehended as they are [the goods], there is no maintenance”.

If the whole process had not happened, Grupo AAA, by Carlos São Vicente, today had, in Angola alone, a heritage that his wife estimated at US $ 700 billion and employed around XNUMX workers in its two most important areas of activity , insurance and hospitality.

The businessman was first investigated in Switzerland, on suspicion of money laundering, about two years ago, based on a complaint from a bank.

In Angola, the investigation started only in the summer of 2020, which led to his preventive detention and, according to the order that determined the preventive detention of Carlos São Vicente, in September 2020, he carried out “an illegal scheme” that damaged the state oil company Sonangol in more than 900 million dollars (about 763,6 million euros).

Also according to that document, the businessman, who between 2000 and 2016 simultaneously served as risk management director at Sonangol and chairman of the board of directors of the company AAA Seguros, a company in which the Angolan oil company was initially sole shareholder, it will have carried out in that period “a scheme of illegal appropriation of shareholdings” of the insurance company and of “income and profits produced by the system” of insurance and reinsurance in the oil sector in Angola, thanks to the company's monopoly.

Asked about her husband's connections to Manuel Vicente, at the time the strong man of the oil company and then vice president of Angola, Irene Neto just said: “Engineer Manuel Vicente was the President of Sonangol and my husband worked at Sonangol ”.

But he underlined that “at that time, more than Manuel Vicente, there were other structures above Manuel Vicente” and added that “just like everything, and everything else that was done in Angola, decisions were made, groups were created, actions were distributed and participation by guidance from the highest holder of the executive branch ”, he stressed.

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