Mauritius: President resigns after being denounced for corruption

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By: Asdrubal Barboza / Source: Resumen Latinoamericano / The Dawn News / April 4, 2018

Photo: Zoltan Mathe/MTI via AP

Mauritius’ current president, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, the sole female Chief of State in Africa, was forced to resign after corruption denouncements that involve private companies and Angola’s government. Gurib-Fakim is a biodiversity scientist and a writer with over 28 books published on the matter.

One of the accusations involves the purchase of jewelry and clothes worth 26,000 dollars using a credit card provided by the NGO Planet Earth Institute, founded and managed by the Angolan businessman Álvaro de Oliveira Madaleno Sobrinho. He is involved in several corruption scandals and fraudulent businesses. Gurib-Fakim maintained ties with the businessman since last year, when he created an investment bank in the country, along with other companies in Mauritius, which received government benefits and are now being investigated in Switzerland and Portugal.

Sobrino is the former director of Banco Espírito Santo (BES) in Lisbon and Angola, and current president of Banco Valor in Angola, and of the Espírito Santo Financial Group. The financial group controls the Banque Privee Espirito Santo in Switzerland, as well as newspapers and television networks. He is also president of the NGO Planet Earth Institute, registered in the United Kingdom, which states that its mission is the “Scientific Development of Africa” ​​(sic), while taking part in the United Nations’ program Rio + 20.

Sobrinho is accused of receiving over 400 million dollars from the Banco Espírito Santo Angola (BESA) through three Angolan companies and over 600 million dollars granted as loans through two offshore companies.

These loans benefited many leaders of the Angolan State such as the Minister of Defense and former General Secretary of the MPLA, João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço (a loan of 30 million dollars); the secretary of the MPLA for Economic and Social Policy, Manuel Nunes Júnior (a loan of 20 million dollars); the sister of former President José Eduardo dos Santos, Marta dos Santos, who received, along with the Portuguese businessman of civil construction, José Guilherme, about 800 million dollars, and the opposition also accuses the current president [of Portugal], João Lourenço, of having received 30 million dollars.

Around 24% of BESA was in the hands of Portmill Investments and Telecommunications which belongs to the triumvirate composed by: Manoel Vicente, former vice president; General Manuel Helder Vieira Dias Jr. or “Kopelipa”, former Head of the Military House; and General Leopoldino Fragoso do Nascimento (Dino), head of the Ministry of State (the second richest man in Angola), who sold their shares to Lieutenant Colonel Leonardo Lidinikeni, officer of the presidential escort and direct subordinate of Kopelipa. Another 19% belonged to the Geni Group, owned by the daughter of the former president, Isabel dos Santos, and the rest of the shares belonged to the oil company Sonangol and Lektron Capital, of Chinese capital. Álvaro Sobrinho was the Executive Director of BESA.

Loans such as these took the bank to a $ 5.7 billion financial debt, and to the collapse of the Espírito Santo Group (GES) in 2014. The Angolan State assumed control of the Bank, injecting nearly USD$3 billion towards the end of 2014 and, in October, BESA became the Banco Económico SA.

Sobrinho’s links to the Planet Earth Institute became public in 2017, along with allegations of corruption of public officials.

Ameenah Gurib-Fakim defended herself by claiming that she had accidentally used the credit card for these expenses, since she had a card from the same bank, and that she had paid back those expenses.

Her excuse did not hold up and therefore she had to announce her resignation on March 9; later, she tried to back down, but the maneuver did not work, the pressure continued and she was forced to resign on March 23.

The black bourgeoisie in Africa, parasitic on the State and an ally of imperialism, shows that the black working class is the only one that can put the States of the continent at the service of the poorest population, who live in conditions of misery and super-exploitation. The peoples of Africa need a socialist revolution.

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