Angola: João Lourenço Pursues Corrupt Officials

The army chief and head of foreign intelligence are the latest to be axed by the President.

Angolans are beginning to get used to the leadership style of President João Lourenço since he took over on September 26, 2017 from José Eduardos Dos who led the country for 38 years. The new leader has so far shown zero tolerance for graft and inefficiency.

The latest victims are Gen. Geraldo Sachipengo Nunda, the Chief of Army Staff, and André de Oliveira Sango, head of foreign military intelligence. The BBC reported that the two influential officials were fired on April 23, 2018.

Portugal’s RTP public broadcaster said a total of 22 officials were sacked the same day. Gen. Nunda, who was replaced by Antonio Egidio de Sousa Santos, was one of three officers named on March 26, 2018 in a corruption scandal involving 50 billion US dollars (26,874 billion FCFA).

The anti-graft drive campaign has seen scores of functionaries and heads of state enterprises dismissed. José Filomeno, son of former President Dos Santos, was recently accused of trying to embezzle 1.5 billion US dollars (806 billion FCFA) from the Central Bank when he managed the country’s Sovereign Wealth Fund.

He was later sacked by the new leader. Filomeno’s billionaire sister, Isabel dos Santos, is under investigation for suspicious bank transfers when she was General Manager of Sonangol, the state-owned oil company. Isabel was equally sacked from the position by President João Lourenço.

Lourenco succeeded Dos Santos pledging to end endemic corruption and implement economic reforms in Africa's second biggest oil producer. The first high-profile official to be removed was Central Bank Governor, Valter Filipe.

The President in December 2017 replaced the management of nine public utilities and companies - adding to a dozen others where he already took similar action - including the Central Bank, oil, diamond industry and the media.

Few Angolans believed João Lourenço last September when he promised changes in the manner in which the country is managed. But he has turned out to be a man of his words – his own man - despite challenges to his administration.

Weeks before Lourenço succeeded Eduardos Dos, Parliament passed a law prohibiting the sacking of heads of the army, police and intelligence services for a period of eight years. Meanwhile, as “President of the Republic Emeritus Honorary,” José Eduardos Dos sits on the Council of the Republic, which grants him immunity from prosecution.

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