Angolan president in web of corruption

Dec 05, 1999 01:00 AM

Angolan President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos is at the core of a corrupt web of army generals and senior government officials who profit from the protracted civil war with the complicity of international oil and banking companies, according to a report released.
The report by the London-based human rights organisation Global Witness said "a significant portion of Angola's oil-derived wealth is being subverted for personal gain and to support the aspirations of elite individuals, at the centre of power around the presidency."
Angola is sub-Saharan Africa's second-largest oil producer after Nigeria, with an estimated production of 770,000 bpd in the second half of last year.
Oil has provided the government with an annual income of $ 1.8 bn to $ 3 bn in the past nine years - a figure expected to increase to between $ 2.9 bn and $ 3.2 bn from 2003 to 2010, the report said. However, the government has failed to account for most of the revenue from its oil exploration projects and is reluctant to open up all its books, despite pressure from the International Monetary Fund.
The Global Witness report said the international oil and banking industries - which sign lucrative offshore exploration deals with the government and provide short-term, high-interest loans - should acknowledge their role in perpetuating Angola's civil war. The report also included a list of individuals and companies linked to the government, the military and to oil exploration and weapons deals that allegedly would profit from an ongoing war.
One such company, the report said, is the Angolan Company of Food Distribution, known by its Portuguese acronym CADA, which reportedly was awarded a $ 720 mm contract to supply the Armed Forces for the next five years. Global Witness cited unidentified sources as saying that Dos Santos took control of the company, which is registered in the British Virgin Islands, just before the resumption of fighting in December 1998 as a 1994 U.N.-brokered peace pact unravelled.
Despite its resources, Angola is one of the less-developed countries in the world. A 14-year war for independence from Portugal ended in 1975, followed by the civil war between the government and UNITA, a Portuguese acronym for the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola.
The rebels, who recently suffered significant losses against the government's army, have breached UN sanctions on diamond trade to fund their war effort. A Global Witness report released in 1998 estimated their diamond revenue at $ 3.7 bn between 1992 and 1998.

Source: AP
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