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Angola: President’s top aide under fire for graft

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Hundreds of Angolans marched on Saturday against alleged state corruption after the media accused the president’s chief of staff of misuse, denting the credibility of an ongoing anti-graft campaign against the former government.

Private Portuguese broadcaster TVI 24 last month investigated several public contracts awarded to firms owned by Angolan President Joao Lourenco’s chief of staff and right-hand man Edeltrudes Costa. Tenders involved includes a multi-million dollar contract to renovate Angolan airports.

It is alleged that Costa transferred public money paid to his businesses to offshore accounts in Panama and Portugal, where it was used to purchase luxury properties.

Neither Lourenco nor Costa have commented on the reports.

The allegations sparked outrage in Angola, where large parts of the population live in poverty despite the country having vast oil and mineral reserves.

Dozens of protesters, chanting anti-corruption slogans, took to the streets in the capital Luanda on Saturday before marching to the presidential palace denouncing high-level corruption and calling on Costa to resign.

“If Mr president does not make the right decision us young people will not stop,” 34-year-old protester Palu Antonio de Mello told the media.

“Thieves should not continue to stay in power… the population wants to be governed by honest people.”

The TVI investigation was released in the midst an anti-corruption campaign mainly directed at relatives of ex-president Jose Eduardo dos Santos who were appointed to key positions during his almost four-decade rule among them, the former president’s son Jose Filomeno dos Santos who was sentenced to five years in prison in August for sidetracking oil revenues from Angola’s sovereign wealth fund, which he oversaw from 2013 to 2018.

His half-sister Isabel dos Santos is meanwhile being probed for a long list of crimes including mismanagement, embezzlement and money laundering during her control of state oil giant Sonangol – allegations they have both denied.

“One of the president’s stated missions is to fight against corruption,” activist Teresa Luterking, 24, said .”So we want him to start with the man that shares his desk.”

Liberty Pazvakawambwa

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