Angolan president’s youngest daughter pursued over money-laundering allegations

It’s the latest legal embarrassment between Portugal and former colony Angola. Public ministry officials – already intent on a corruption investigation involving Angola’s vice-president Manuel Vicente – are now gunning for a money-laundering probe of president Eduardo dos Santos’ youngest daughter Welwitschea José – better known by the diminutive of “Tchizé”.

The self-style “woman of culture”, “social motivator”, politician and businesswomen younger sister of Africa’s richest woman Isabel had hoped her problems with Portuguese justice were over, explains Visão magazine today (Saturday).

In November last year, judge Ivo Rosa of the Central Criminal Court of Instruction (TCIC) threw out a DCIAP criminal investigation into allegations of money-laundering made by Angolan activist and journalist Rafael Marques .

But the Public Ministry appealed, “and won”, says Visão.

Rosa’s arguments centred on the Public Ministry’s “incompetence” to investigate “the alleged crimes of corruption and fiscal fraud committed in Angola” because the same crimes havee been archived in Angola.

A bit like the wrangle ongoing with vice president Manuel Vicente, the issue is a tug-of-law – Angola’s position being that certain people should be above it (click here).

Visão explains that the Public Ministry see things very differently, believing that Judge Ivo Rosa overstepped his authority when he “absolved” mother-of-two Tchizé last year.

The case rests on facts that are “autonomous and distinct” from those that “allegedly occurred in Angola”, namely “financial movements detected that reflect, with elevated probability… the intention of hiding their true origin and dissimulating their illicit nature” sais the Public Ministry appeal.

At the hearing in Lisbon, prosecutors further stressed Portugal’s adherence to European rules “relating to the prevention of the use of the financial system to launder money”, says Visão.

Quoting article 1 of the Community directive of June 1991, the Public Ministry suggests this establishes that money-laundering is deemed to have taken place “even if the activities that controlled the assets detected in these movements took place on the territory of another member state or another country”.

Appeal court judges Ricardo Cardoso and Filipa Macedo agreed, ruling the Public Ministry’s appeal “admissible in its entirety”, and so the investigation goes on.

Visão stresses that for now Tchizé has not been made an official suspect (arguida) “nor does she know whether she will be”.

“The ways of justice are forever tortuous”, the magazine concludes – making no reference to the fact that even if Tchizé is made an ‘arguida’, Angolan justice has already shown in the investigation into Manuel Vicente, that it is unlikely to play ball (click here).

Meantime, ‘whistleblower’ Rafael Marques (full name Rafael Marques de Morais) – who has received several international awards for his work on conflict diamonds and government corruption – continues to write his campaigning blog Maka Angola, and was only last week awarded the 2017 Democracy award, handed out by Washington’s National Endowment for Democracy.

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