In the final part of his investigations, Rafael Marques de Morais continues his long series of investigative reporting on corruption (Maka) in Angola. This report concludes yesterday’s article (on this page) on the Kilamba Building Project in the, suburb of Luanda. It is paid for and built by the Chinese, who will receive large quantities of oil in repayment. Vicente and Kopelipa are major beneficiaries. The prices of the houses are far beyond what ordinary people can pay, so will go to the political and economic elites.
This investigation focuses exclusively on the management of the project and its transparency. Delta Imobiliária – Sociedade de Promoção, Gestão e Mediação S.A, which was given responsibility for selling the apartments, was created on 27 December 2007. Its shareholders are the chairman and CEO of the National Oil Company Sonangol, Manuel Vicente; the minister of state and head of the military bureau (Casa Militar) in the presidency, General Manuel Hélder Vieira Dias ‘Kopelipa’, and his top advisor General Leopoldino Fragoso do Nascimento. The company is fronted by officers from the military bureau of the presidency – Colonels José Manuel Domingos ‘Tunecas’, João Manuel Inglês and Belchior Inocêncio Chilembo – as well as General Kopelipa’s private assistant Domingos Manuel Inglês, ‘Avô Inglês’. These men between them hold only 0.16 per cent of the company’s shareholding.
A Nova Centralidade do Kilamba, as the project was officially named, was supervised until the end of 2010 by the then Office of National Reconstruction (GRN), which was part of the military bureau of the presidency, and was headed by General Kopelipa. This office was created in 2004 to deal with the application of Chinese loans, to date worth US$15 billion, to national reconstruction projects as defined by the GRN itself. The GRN was also responsible for financial management and for supervising the work.
On September 27, 2010, Dos Santos formally transferred all of the GRN’s responsibilities on Kilamba and similar projects in the Luanda area to Sonangol Imobiliária, a subsidiary of the state oil company. Despite the absence of an official justification for handing over a major state social housing project to Sonangol, Chinese analysts offer this possible explanation: ‘CITIC has been trying to finance the project with its own money, because the government does not yet have [the money]. It handed over the project to Sonangol, which recently paid for services that were in arrears. CITIC had to invest US$350 million from its own bank to continue the project and to keep the 10,000 Chinese workers on the site.’
No matter which option the state chose, it continued to inject public funds into the project, in this instance by direct investment from Sonangol, whose boss, Manuel Vicente, ranked alongside Kopelipa as the central figure in the negotiations with China. The loans are paid in consignments of crude oil.
By contracting Delta Imobiliária to sell the apartments in the Kilamba social housing project, Sonangol arrogantly and thoroughly broke the laws that are in force. The Law on Administrative Probity defines as ‘an act of corruption conducive to illegal enrichment’ the receiving of economic advantage as commission in a direct or indirect form, among other acts, through an action ‘arising from the duties of a public servant’ (art. 25, 1, a).