Major endorsement to Angola’s crusade against corruption

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From PEDRO AGOSTO in Luanda, Angola

LUANDA - THE endorsement by political heavyweights and the
church is a testament to the impact of President Joao Lourenco’s drive
to uproot the plague of corruption in Angola.

Angola’s third elected president since independence almost 45 years ago
has made the fight against graft, particularly in government, his
priority since he came to power in 2017.

This followed the realisation that despite the Southern African
country’s endowment with natural resources- it is Africa’s
second-largest producer of crude oil (behind Nigeria)- only the elite
were benefitting and the majority wallowing in poverty.

This week, Angola received the first United States (US) first senior
government official since the election of Lourenco. Coincidentally,
Lourenco and his US counterpart, Donald Trump, both assumed office the
same year.

Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, was in Angola for a series of
meetings with government officials, civil society representatives, and
the business community as part of initiatives to deepen bilateral
relations between the two countries.

The anti-corruption crusade of the new government in Angola was central
to the discussions.

Pompeo lauded Lourenco’s election as a milestone in Angola’s transition
to democracy as he was the first new president in 38 years.

“The US supports President Lourenço's commitment to fight corruption and
enact economic and political reforms,” he declared.

Pompeo disclosed that during the meeting with Lourenco, they talked
first about moving beyond the corruption that had stunted Angola’s vast
potential for far too long.

“During his first two and a half years in office, President Lourenco has
done great work to make it a ghost of the past,” the US politician
lauded.

“He's increased transparency. He has helped financial institutions clean
up their books and he has pursued bad actors,” Pompeo lauded further.

Top government and party officials, including individuals who benefitted
from the cronyism of the immediate past government of Jose Eduardo dos
Santos have not been spared as the new broom sweeps clean.

The most prominent figure at the wrong end of the blitz is Isabel dos
Santos, the daughter of the former president.

She is accused of wrongly benefitting from her influential position in
the then-First Family to amass wealth, which made her the richest woman
in Africa.

“I'm optimistic that he (Lourenco) will continue to liberate Angola from
corruption.  I am also encouraged by his efforts to privatise
state-owned enterprises, a move that will greatly attract private
investment,” Pompeo said.

Angola’s resolve against sleaze has previously received global
endorsement.

It improved anti-corruption efforts are reflected in its 19-place
improvement in its ranking in the 2019 Transparency International
Corruption Perceptions Index.

The US supports Angola's anti-corruption fight through a number of
initiatives, including a programme the Department of the Treasury
launched in March 2019 to improve Angola's capacity to implement its
anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism
(AML/CFT) regime.

Last week, church leaders also endorsed the steps taken by the
administration of Lourenco to address the issue.

Ted Wilson, president of the General Conference of the Seventh Day
Adventist Church (SDA), also pledged his organisation’s support for the
measures.

He was one of two religious leaders to meet Lourenco.

Deolinda Dorca Tecas, general secretary of the Council of Christian
Churches of Angola, also met the head of state and raised some concerns
about infrastructure challenges affecting the provision of health and
education.

It is believed years of corruption hampered the previous
administration’s focus on these areas.

– CAJ News







 

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