11 May 2018

Angola: Lawsuit Against Former Angolan Vice President Transferred to Angola

Lisbon — The Court of Appeal of Lisbon, Portugal, last Thursday decided to transfer to Angola the lawsuit against the former Angolan vice president of the Republic, Manuel Domingos Vicente.

This decision happens in sequence of previous exhortations made by the Angolan President, João Lourenço, to the Portuguese judicial authorities to transfer the lawsuit against Manuel Vicente - whose immunity only expires in September 2022 - to be judged by Angolan courts.

Manuel Vicente, now an MP, is facing charges in Portugal of "active corruption" (attempt to bribe the public prosecutor Orlando Figueira, who is also standing trial).

Meanwhile, Manuel Vicente's defence lawyers have appealed against the initial decision, arguing that the former vice president had not been formally notified of an indictment and, moreover, he enjoyed political immunity.

The prosecutor who investigated and took the case to court had discarded the requests for the transfer of the lawsuit to Angola justified with Mr Vicente holding political immunity.

The Court of Appeal, however, overturned the decision and decided that the former Angolan vice president and former C.E.O of the state-owned oil company Sonangol could be tried by Angolan courts without any danger to the principle of Good Justice Administration.

Manuel Vicente's lawyers have already manifested their satisfaction at the decision, however, they said, they still need to analyse its content well.

On the communiqué issued by the lawyers it is stated that "this decision can contribute to put away any possible climate or idea of distrust or disregard between the juridical systems of two sovereign and co-operating states".

On the same statement, the lawyers reiterate that Manuel Vicente has nothing to do with the facts outlined in the accusations against him.

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