Attorney general ‘takes heat out of Angolan corruption wrangle’

Following reports that judicial authorities were “considering the extradition of the vice president of Angola” over corruption allegations, the Attorney General’s office has issued a statement attempting to take the heat out of what has become a gathering diplomatic storm.

Issued through State news agency Lusa, the statement insists that at “no moment was the extradition of Manuel Vicente requested”.

Indeed, the assertions go further. The statement explains that a letter rogatory was sent to Angolan authorities “with a view to accusing Manuel Vicente” over suspicions that he ‘corrupted’ former Portuguese public prosecutor Orlando Figueira (click here), but that this was subsequently found to be unworkable, and so the letter was ‘returned’ to DIAP (the department of investigation and penal action that issued it).

The reason the letter rogatory was unworkable stems from Vicente’s high position as vice-president of the African country.

Said the statement: “Aware of the quality of person (wanted for) questioning, and after analysing Angolan legislation, serious doubts arose over the viability of execution of the letter rogatory.

“With a view to avoiding the practice of useless acts, and preventing future and likely processual delays which could result from a possible refusal to execute (the letter rogatory), diligences were affected at the Attorney General’s office in Angola” and lo and behold the answer came back that, yes, indeed, “there was no probability of complying with a letter rogatory in the form to which (Portugal) was referring”.

Between all the judicial waffle, the message is loud and clear: Angolan legislation does not allow for its political leaders to face prosecution from overseas – and Portugal’s Attorney General thinks this is just fine and dandy.

Meantime, in this country, Orlando Figueira remains under house arrest (following a stint in jail when he was intially detained 14 months ago) accused of accepting hundreds of thousands of euros (allegedly from Manuel Vicente) for archiving investigations in which Vicente was implicated.

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