26 February 2013

Angola: Attorney-General Office Slams Violation of in-Camera Principle in Portugal

Angola's Attorney-General Office (PGR) strongly protests against the "shameless" way in which systematically in Portugal one has been seeing the violation of the In- Camera principle, in cases involving honourable citizens that hold high-ranking positions in the Angolan state apparatus.

This position comes on a press communiqué issued by the PGR on Monday, in response to the publication last weekend, by the Portuguese press, of news regarding an investigation launched by Portugal's Prosecuting Counsel, in which one of the targets is the Angolan Attorney-General, João Maria de Sousa.

The PGR considers the news "humiliating" for targeting official personalities of the Angolan state apparatus, stressing that those information lack professional ethics and objectivity and show a violation of the In-Camera principle and bad faith.

The note clarifies that the investigation launched by Portugal's Prosecuting counsel, which has "caused a storm" in the Portuguese press, is a normal administrative procedure, intended to find out the legality behind a financial transaction operated via the banking system, which does not necessarily mean that the investigated person is already guilty of a crime or another infraction.

The note states that the investigation has the objective to find out the legality of a banking transfer.

It further clarifies that the citizen João Maria de Sousa is a shareholder in the Imexco Group, made up by different companies that operate in Angola, which transferred, in November 2011, the amount of 70.000 euros to his account at Santander Totta bank, based in Lisbon.

Thus, the note states that the Angolan Attorney-General is not actually involved in lucrative or remunerated commercial activity, he is a fiscal resident of Angola, where he pays his taxes, adding that he is not a partner or a shareholder of the Spiral Enterprises, as mentioned by the Portuguese press, but this is a firm which holds shares in the Imexco Group.

In view of this fact, the PGR considers that the author of the news published by the Portuguese Jornal Expresso newspaper was not truthful when associating João Maria de Sousa to alleged commercial activities, who has the right, like any other citizen, to be a partner or shareholder of a commercial society in the terms of the Angolan law.

The note stresses that the Jornal Expresso journalist went beyond the limits in journalism, by writing slanderously, having stated that four million euros have been recovered and given to João Maria de Sousa.

"Because it is a gross lie, full of bad faith, the columnist and the Jornal Expresso newspaper, in due time, will be required to prove those affirmations relating to the process of illegal transfers, through the Angolan National Reserve Bank (BNA), found out in 2009, a process that is running in the Central Directorate of Investigation and Penal Action (DCIAP) of the Portuguese Prosecuting Counsel", stresses the note.

In conclusion, the note states that the PGR will be waiting for the DCIAP to use the existing legal tools that regulate the juridical and judiciary co-operation between Angola and Portugal in the ambit of the Portuguese Speaking Countries Community (CPLP), so that the DCIAP can get from the Angolan authorities and the person in question himself the necessary documents and clarifications it needs to resolve the case.

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