18 January 2016

Angola: Activist Lodges a Criminal Complaint Against Land-Grabbing Governor

analysis

The activist Rafael Marques lodged today a criminal complaint in court against the Governor of Kwanza Sul Province, General Eusébio de Brito Teixeira, for seizing land and then giving it to a company owned by himself.

According to the submission delivered to the Office of the Attorney General, and to which Lusa had access, General Eusébio de Brito Teixeira even wrote a petition to the governor of Kwanza Sul Province - that is, to himself - to request the legal rights to land for the construction of a condominium.

The letter is dated May 4, 2014; a month later, on June 6, the local Sumbe municipal administrator, where the lands in questions are based, sent the governor of Kwanza Sul province, with a copy to General Eusébio Brito Teixeira, a statement saying local entities were in favor of the proposal, and that the governor should immediately grant legal rights that he himself had asked for.

"On the contract, there is a single signature - that of Eusebio Brito Teixeira as governor and representative of the company which he partly owns."

According to the complaint that has been issued by the author of the book "Blood Diamonds: Corruption and Torture in Angola," the expropriation has to do with the Ebrite e Filhos company that was founded in 1998 and of which Eusébio de Brito Teixeira owns 50 per cent.

The remaining 50 percent belongs to the sons of General Eusébio de Brito Teixeira.

The equivalent of four thousand dollars was to be paid, in five annual installments, for the land on which there would be an urban construction."

Apart from the land for the construction of the condominium, the complaint also refers to the concession of surface rights, measuring four hectares, to one of the general's sons for the construction of residencies.

According to the complaint, this is a very serious issue because, says Rafael Marques, the governor is prevented by law from giving out land and the price was much lower than its true commercial value.

The complaint affirms that according to the current legislation, transforming rural lands into urban is illegal; the submission is accompanied with documents showing the concession to surface rights.

This legal action is part of an initiative that the journalist Rafael Marques started two years ago to highlight the phenomenon of land expropriation in various localities across Angola.

"I have been working on land expropriation in Angola by political leaders in various parts of the country. They have grabbed dozens of square kilometers of arable land which they do not put to use but is used as collateral to obtain huge loans from the Angola Development Bank," said Rafael Marques to Lusa in February 2015. At the time, he was criticizing the way the bank credit system was being used in Angola.

"Some loans of dozens of millions of dollars were being used to buy luxury cars, luxury services and none were being used to invest in the infrastructure that would support the necessary agricultural production in the country" said Rafael Marques adding that there were very few instances of success in the agricultural sector.

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