At a moment when Portuguese relations with Angola are already tense, a new controversy has burst onto the scene: General Bento “Kangamba” – formerly suspected in Brazil of trafficking women for prostitution, and suspected in Portugal of “crimes related to corruption” – has told Lusa that he intends to prosecute both countries, and file for compensation.
Six difficult years in which the cases hung over him affected his image, he told Lusa, the image of his family and ultimately the image of the Angolan people.
Last month, a Brazilian court finally absolved him of accusations made in 2012, and the knock-on investigation initiated in Portugal has also seen appeal court judges rule in Kangamba’s favour.
As the general told Lusa, the Portuguese investigation “only came about because of the Brazilian case” but it ended with him being cited for alleged money-laundering, active and passive corruption and IT falsification.
The episode saw Kangamba’s bank accounts frozen and huge amounts of cash seized, leaving the general “feeling humiliated”, he explained.
According to Observador, part of his fortune is still held in Portugal, despite the fact that he has been absolved of any wrongdoing.
Kangamba is related by marriage to the family of former Angolan president Eduardo dos Santos, and that was another factor that allegedly played against him although he insists that he never took any advantage of the situation.
This is just the latest low note sounded in an environment of diplomatic frostiness following Portugal’s refusal to drop its prosecution of former Angolan vice-president Manuel Vicente (click here).
Vicente has been accused of paying a Portuguese magistrate to drop two inquiries into alleged corruption. He has always maintained his innocence, while the official Angolan position is that Portugal is being offensive by not leaving Angola to deal with this case on its own national soil.