Angola Jails Most Senior Official Yet After Corruption Trial

(Bloomberg) -- Angola’s Supreme Court sentenced a former government minister to 14 years in prison for corruption, marking the first conviction for graft of a senior official under President Joao Lourenco.

Former Transport Minister Augusto da Silva Tomas was found guilty of embezzlement, misappropriation of public funds, abuse of power and violating budgeting standards, Judge Joel Leonardo said on Thursday. Most charges were connected to fraud at the National Council of Shippers, a state regulator that oversees international shipping and freight to the country.

Tomas served as transport minister from 2008 to 2017 before his arrest in September last year. He was tried alongside four former shipping council officials, three of whom received sentences ranging from 10 to 12 years. Their “common objective was to steal public funds belonging to the Angolan state,” with the theft amounting to “billions” of kwanzas, according to the judge.

After taking the helm of sub-Saharan Africa’s second-biggest oil producer almost two years ago, Lourenco vowed to fight graft and dismantle corrupt business networks undermining state revenue. While the former head of the central bank and the son of ex-President Jose Eduardo dos Santos have been charged with fraud, their cases are still awaiting trial.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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