Angola’s government has recovered US$5 billion (€4.6 billion) of assets taken illegally from the country whilst it is awaiting judicial decisions regarding assets worth another US$21 billion (€19.4 billion).
The figures were provided to Lusa today by Eduarda Rodrigues, director of the National Asset Recovery Service (Senra), on the sidelines of a conference on the confiscation of assets as a tool to combat economic and organised crime.
However, this figure represents less than 20% of the value of the assets to be recovered since, according to Rodrigues, everything indicates that between 2001 and 2017, around US$150 billion (€139 billion) were transferred abroad illicitly.
Of this amount, over US$5 billion was effectively recovered and has entered the Angolan coffers.
However, there are over US$21 billion in seized assets, both in Angola and outside the country, that are still awaiting judicial decisions.
“It is still very little compared to what we have ahead of us, it is a big fight,” said the director of Senra, also highlighting cooperation with other countries.
“We have several cases: Portugal, even for reasons of proximity, but also Bermuda, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Switzerland,” she said, saying that there have never been refusals to collaborate.
She also said that the entity had “obtained positive results in all of these countries”, noting that even in Dubai – often pointed out as a destination of exile for people linked to the previous regime and now in the sights of justice – there have been results.
“We have already achieved some financial flow there, and we have been working in other areas of international cooperation,” said Eduarda Rodrigues, who stressed in her introduction to the conference that international cooperation has been essential to achieving the goals of asset recovery.
The ambassador of the European Union in Angola, Jeannette Seppen, noted that organised crime “is not a phenomenon of the past,” as cases continue to be seen, especially in the economic area, linked to corruption, embezzlement and money laundering, phenomena that do not only occur in Angola but “have transnational occurrences, which poses doubled challenges.
Among the specialists who took part in the conference, organised by the Attorney General’s Office and the United Nations Organisation on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Angola, were magistrates from the Public Prosecutor’s Office and experts from the Financial Information Unit and the Institute for Management of State Assets and Participation (IGAPE), amongst others.
The themes of the initiative included the approach to international instruments of asset forfeiture, identification of proceeds of crime through financial intelligence, mechanisms and obstacles to asset forfeiture, as well as good practices in the administration of forfeited assets.
The initiative is part of the Pro.React project – Project to Support the Strengthening of the National Asset Forfeiture System in Angola, funded by the European Union (EU), which aims to develop an effective system to combat illicit financial flows and contribute to greater economic growth and poverty reduction in Angola.