Angolan Justice Blocks Former Fisheries Minister's Accounts

Luanda — The former Fisheries minister, Victória de Barros Neto, plus her husband and children have had their bank accounts blocked, following an order from the Attorney General's Office (PGR), and at the same time a criminal lawsuit against her has been filed.

The move comes after a judge in a court in Windhoek, Namibia, issued an arrest warrant against the former government official, who was dismissed in January 2019, the Jornal de Angola (JA) newspaper reported on Sunday.

In Sunday's edition, the daily newspaper reports that teams from Angola and Namibia are working together to investigate the involvement of the current MPLA deputy in a scheme of corruption, tax fraud and money laundering, in which two former Namibian ministers are also involved and are already facing trial in that neighbouring country.

The PGR prosecutor and spokesman Álvaro da Silva João, quoted by the JA in statements to the weekly Expresso, underlines that a demarche is underway between the judicial authorities of the two countries, but recalls that, in light of the Constitution, the authorities of Angola cannot extradite an Angolan citizen.

"What we have done since we've learned about this through the office of the International Exchange and Cooperation office has been to contact our counterpart", said the prosecutor, adding that if there are strong indications of criminal acts "we'll be providing timely information about the progress of the process ", he said.

USD 30 Million Scam The alleged US$30-million scam was detected by a consortium of investigative journalists from the daily newspaper "The Namibian", "Wiki-Leaks", Icelandic Public Television (RUV), the Icelandic daily "Stundian" and "Al Jazeera".

ANGOP has learnt that it all starts with an agreement signed between the Governments of Namibia and Angola, which outlined the establishment of fishing quotas involving two Namibian companies: Namgomar Namibian (private) and the state-owned National Fishcor Corporation of Namibia (Fishcor), and an Angolan firm, Nandomar Pescas Angola.

Supposedly, according to investigators from the Namibian Anti-Corruption Commission, quotas donated by Namibia were then sold to the Icelandic food giant Samherji HF and profits from sales transferred to offshore companies in Dubai and Mauritius.

Later, the offshore companies sent the money to Angola and Namibia, that is, to companies owned by relatives or acquaintances of ministers. Among several beneficiaries of the illegal commissions is João de Barros, one of the four children of the former Angolan Fisheries minister. Meanwhile, the ruling MPLA's parliamentary whip, Américo Cuononoca, has assured to the Expresso (Angolan weekly newspaper) that he is completely unaware of this process. "This case comes as a surprise to me, I have not read anything, nothing has come to my table, nor do I have the information that two former Namibian ministers have been detained in their country over a deal involving comrade Victoria de Barros Neto," said Américo Cuononoca.

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