Recently, Vincent Miclet, one of the foreign adventurers who most benefited from the plunder schemes in Angola, gave a great interview to the well-known French newspaper Le Monde , in which he claims to be the victim of a cabal orchestrated by Angolan generals.
In the newspaper, Vincent Miclet is described as having been the king of imports into Angola, allied with the then Minister of State and head of the Security House of the President of the Republic, General Manuel Hélder Vieira Dias Júnior “Kopelipa”.
With this maneuver of communication, Vincent Miclet is now seeking to return to Angola, where he was banished for having taken hundreds of millions of dollars away from the public purse by his Angolan partners.
Maka Angola initiated a series of investigations on Vincent Miclet, his association with the generals of the Presidency of José Eduardo dos Santos, and the schemes resulting from the public looting. Miclet did not answer the questions that we put to him promptly through his lawyer.
Vincent Miclet gained more prominence in Angola when, in 2011, he replaced the Lebanese Kassim Tajideen, then the largest food importer in Angola.
This Lebanese citizen is currently jailed in the United States for a five-year sentence because he was one of the financiers – through his business in Angola and other African countries – of Hezbollah, a group on the list of USA. The U.S. justice system also imposed a fine of $ 50 million on Kassim Tajideen, in particular for money laundering.
New Food Distributor
In June 2011, José Eduardo dos Santos ordered the then Minister of State and Chief of Staff of the PR, Carlos Feijó, and General Kopelipa to draw up a plan for the adequate compensation and expulsion of Kassim Tajideen.
At the time, Kassim Tajideen led the import and marketing of food in Angola, as the main partner of the Arosfran Group, which included, among other companies, Afribelg, Golfrate and Muteba. Arosfran made monthly imports worth $ 50 million, or $ 600 million a year.
To resolve the “Tajideen crisis”, the New Distribuidora Alimentar e Diversos, Lda. (NDAD) was created, which would try to acquire all the assets (about 170 warehouses) and assets of Arosfran in Angola for 150 million dollars. In compliance with presidential orders, General Leopoldino Fragoso do Nascimento (Dino), José Eduardo dos Santos’s ironclad, assumed responsibility and personally obtained a US $ 150 million loan from the Angolan Bank of Investments (BAI).
However, two months earlier, on April 13, 2011, NDAD had already been constituted, with Vincent Miclet (80%) and her future secretary, Adélia Bandeira El-Bichuti (20%) as the foreheads. Sources from Maka Angola familiar with the process confirmed that generals Kopelipa and Dino were the final beneficiaries of the scheme.
Enter Rui Ferreira
In one of his expositions, Vincent Miclet states that at that time he had already negotiated directly with the legal representation of Kassim Tajideen. Miclet identifies Rui Ferreira, at the time president of the Constitutional Court and current president of the Supreme Court, as having participated in the negotiation, which took place in one of the premises of the Presidential Palace.
As Maka Angola, Rui Ferreira explains: “It is true that I knew and followed the process of selling the Arosfran Group in 2011 to the company NDAD.”
The judge explains the context and the quality in which he followed the case:
“As is well known, for 23 years (1985-2008), I was a lawyer. During this period and for more than 15 years I was an attorney from the companies of the Arosfran Group, which included the companies Golfrate and Afribelg. These companies, owned by the Lebanese businessman Kassim Tajideen, were the largest group in the food distribution business of basic food products in Angola at the time. ”
Rui Ferreira clarifies that, with his appointment to the post of presiding judge of the Constitutional Court, he ceased to be a lawyer for these companies and for any others.
In the face of a government decision to force Kassim Tajideen to sell his group and to leave Angola, accusations that Hezbollah was financing the Lebanese, the then Chiefs of Staff and Security of the President, respectively Carlos Feijó and General Kopelipa, contacted Rui Ferreira. “They looked for me and asked me to help them convince the businessman to sign the agreement,” says the latter.
“[Carlos Feijó and General Kopelipa] explained that they made this request to me on an exceptional basis, due to the respect and confidence that that businessman had with me, resulting from the professional relationship I have had with him for many years,” says Rui Ferreira.
According to the judge, the envoys of José Eduardo dos Santos “also claimed that it was urgent and in the interest of the State that there should be a quick and non-conflictual agreement, so as not to affect the supply of the basic food basket to the population or to cause the rise of the level of inflation “.
In addition, he argues that his former client “suspected that it was all a maneuver to get him out of the food distribution business and that he would not be paid.” “I accepted the invitation because it was a request from the government of my country, and above all because I considered that to resolve this process well was in the national interest and it was within my reach to help,” argues the judge.
The system of incompatibilities to which the judges are subject prevents them from exercising functions other than the judiciary and teaching. However, Rui Ferreira denies having generated any conflict of interest in responding to the call of the presidency.
“What I did was a mission of good offices, by a successful and accepted by both parties. I did not act as a lawyer for any of them, but rather as a ‘facilitator’ of the agreement, “he says.
Rui Ferreira is peremptory in stating that he did not obtain any benefit from the agreement: “It was a good office of diligence requested by the government of my country, in the national interest and unpaid.” “Judges, by duty of citizenship and patriotism, can not turn their backs on the nation and people when they need it. That’s what I did. The magistrates are not prevented from being patriotic, “he adds.
The True Owners of NDAD
The agreement for the purchase and sale of the assets and assets of the Arosfran Group was concluded on 7 June 2011 by Kassim Tajideen and Vincent Miclet, the latter acting as managing partner of NDAD. From the financing obtained by General Dino, by order of NDAD, BAI paid two-thirds to Kassim Tajideen, worth $ 100 million. This payment was made in September 2011, but the loan agreement between BAI and NDAD was only signed on 7 October of the same year.
With this arrangement, Kassim Tajideen was expelled from Angola with another 100 million dollars in his pocket, prevented from returning to the country for 20 years. In the good deal of business involving the presidential generals, of the $ 150 million granted by BAI, only $ 100 million was used in the purchase of assets and assets of Arosfran. A third of the credit “flew” with the generals’ wings. “Only later, many months later and without having been told before, did I know who were the real partners of the NDAD company”, demarca Rui Ferreira, without needing names.
The version of Feijó
Carlos Feijó begins by categorically denying any involvement in the shareholder structure of NDAD. “The fact that someone has worked or assumed positions of responsibility in the presidency does not mean to gain illicit benefits or others of any kind,” he says.
“Now, in the last 15 years, I have held public office between 2010 and 2012 (two years) and have not held government positions for seven years. Therefore, by choice of life, I am involved not only in university education but also in private life, “says Feijó.
He explains that in 2011 José Eduardo dos Santos received a note from the United Nations, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, about Kassim Tajideen’s ties to Hezbollah. Feijó says that, after receiving the order of summons, the then president of the Republic summoned the Minister of State and head of the Civil House and the Minister of State and head of the Security House of the President of the Republic, at the time and respectively Carlos Feijó and the general Kopelipa, for an urgent meeting with a view to finding a solution on the basis of the summons received.
“I immediately suggested that we had to comply with the summons without hesitation.
I understood that, from the constitutional and legal point of view, the Angolan State was prevented from using the confiscation process. We do not even have legislation for confiscation of property without conviction by a court, “says Feijó.
On the other hand, Feijó says that “there was a need to take into account the fact that the Arosfran Group was the market leader in the importation and marketing of foodstuffs in particular in the basket of foodstuffs and that, therefore, any measure on the company would have impact on inflation, which he urged control. ”
Thus, it was thought that the best solution would be to find a private company under Angolan law to negotiate and acquire the assets and assets of the commercial branch of the Arosfran Group.
Feijó also said that “as General Dino was at the head of Kero and had market experience, he was tasked with finding a financial solution, which involved borrowing from the Angolan Investment Bank (BAI).”
“Dino arranged for a loan from BAI. I got out of the move. The rest is a private matter that has nothing to do with me anymore, “says Feijó.
“I know that, in the commercial aspect, the creation of an Angolan commercial company and subsequent acquisition by the latter of the assets and assets of the Arosfran Group, through the conclusion of a contract for the purchase and sale of the Group’s assets and commercial assets Arosfran, “he continues.
According to the interlocutor, “the assets and assets of the Arosfran Group (inventory) were drawn up by Mr. Vincent Miclet and Mrs. Adélia Bichuti, who also negotiated the amount to be paid in discussions with Dr. Rui’s office Ferreira, with whom the Arosfran group worked. I believe, “Feijó finished.
“I’m talking about Dr. Rui Ferreira’s office but I want to emphasize that I do not know if he was a partner at the time,” he adds.
The interlocutor tells how the then Minister of the Interior issued the order for the expulsion of Kassim Tajideen from the Republic of Angola and the respective ban on entry into national territory for a period of twenty years.
The former head of the Civil House notes that the knowledge between his former colleague General Kopelipa, then Minister of State and head of the Security House of PR, had with the French businessman Vincent Miclet dictated the latter’s choice to lead the purchase of the Group Arosfran.
According to Feijó, once the law offices on behalf of the parties were involved, generals Kopelipa and Dino also moved away from the negotiations. “I must emphasize that I did not see the generals involved in the negotiations. I would say that the role of General Dino was only to arrange the financing. ”
After a few months, already in 2012, Dos Santos dismissed Carlos Feijó. “In 2013, I was returning to private life, to the [lawyers] office and without any public function.” In this condition, Feijó claims to have been contacted “to dissolve the conflict of NDAD’s near technical bankruptcy situation and the impossibility of this solves its commitments, especially the payment of the debt contracted “. And he says that the bankruptcy situation “generated the shock of the trust relationship between all stakeholders.”
“The problems began between Vincent Miclet, Kopelipa and Dino. This prompted General Dino to file a criminal complaint against Vicent in DNIAP, I believe. ”
“At all events, it does not seem to me that the situation is criminal, but rather a civil and perhaps societal problem that civil courts must resolve,” Feijó argues.
Feijó reveals that there was an erratic management of Vincent Miclet and even an opaque mix of interests with his company Angodis to NDAD, which also supplied the Angolan Armed Forces.
Since 2013, Carlos Feijó’s law firm provides legal services to NDAD and maintains a permanent lawyer at NDAD, through a monthly agreement.
Miclet in the street eye
The remaining $ 50 million in debt was paid at the end of 2013 with a second loan of $ 45 million from Banco Privado Atlântico (BPA, currently Millenium Atlantic).
However, at that time, according to documents held by Maka Angola, NDAD was bankrupt and unable to honor its commitments to the bank. Once again, General Leopoldino Fragoso do Nascimento appears, which engenders the process of altering the formal shareholder structure of NDAD, already with the legal counsel of Carlos Feijó.
On 25 February 2015 quotas were terminated on behalf of Vincent Miclet and Adélia El-Bichuti for Paulo César Rocha Rasgado (80%) and Samora Borges Sebastião Albino (20%). According to documents in the possession of Maka Angola, this process did not determine the value of the benefit that should be paid to the outgoing persons, because it was a façade operation.
Vincent Miclet, however, was claiming a total payment of $ 56.6 million as a repayment of alleged financing by himself for the purchase of goods through his three companies, namely Pointpark Limited (Dubai), Taycast Investment Limited ( Dubai) and Angodis – Angola Distribuição, Lda.
The confusion between these companies and doubts about the lawfulness of their actions was such that on 30 May 2015 Angodis addressed General Kopelipa and the then Defense Minister, Candido Van-Dúnem, to effect the return of the equivalent of 64 million dollars received “unduly”.
Angodis had no contract with the Ministry of Defense, but received funds from this agency on behalf of Pointpark, which, in turn, was not even registered in the Integrated Financial Management System (SIGFE), through which all payments relating to implementation of the General State Budget must pass.
Such was the withdrawal scheme, which, from March 19, 2013 to June 24, 2013, Angodis charged the value of 95 million dollars in supplies to the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA).
In response, on 18 July of the same year, the director of the National Directorate of Administration and Finance of the Ministry of Defense (MINDEN), Lieutenant General Francisco Firmino Jacinto, started by justifying transfers as having been a budget execution device to avoid withdrawal of funds by the Ministry of Finance.
“In order not to be penalized, while we waited for a solution, we took as a precautionary measure the transfer of that amount to your bank account, which we considered to have a direct connection with it, for the payment to be consummated.”
Maka Angola could not verify that the money was actually returned.
One of the major withdrawal schemes, as documented by senior officials serving both Angodis and Pointpark and NDAD, was based on the partial delivery of food and other supplies to the FAA. For example, it is reported that from 2011 to 2013 these companies escaped to provide food to the FAA for $ 20 million, which had already been paid. In 2012, Angodis handed over to the FAA, through the company Simportex, SA, rice unfit for human consumption, “with bugs.”
Vincent Miclet confirms that the negotiations, initiated in April 2011, were conducted “by Mr. Rui Ferreira, in the presence of the interested parties”. “On 7 April 2011, Mr. Rui Ferreira was drafted and signed the agreement for the purchase and sale of the assets and assets of the Arosfran Group’s commercial branch.” Miclet also said that initially this group had requested the value of 327.3 million dollars, but the business ended up closed for the value of 144.5 million dollars.
Directly, Miclet also explains that on April 5, 2011, “for superior guidance, we were granted a loan by Banco BAI, with the purpose of liquidating the portion of the amount accepted in the contract signed by the parties, on July 20, 2011, the transfer of the amount of one hundred million dollars directed to the company Alicomerce “. As it is public knowledge, the “superior orientation”, or higher order, was the term of reverence for the orders of Jose Eduardo dos Santos or in his name.
The French trader complains, then, of having used own funds for the restructuring of the company and payment of imports. Part of its corrupt scheme is dismantled by itself, stating in the letter that to improve the management of the company “I have brought my concern to Exma. Mrs. Marta dos Santos [brother and sister of José Eduardo dos Santos], who asked me in writing for the document that would be delivered to Seu. Excia. Comrade President, never thinking that the partners would interpret it as a betrayal. “The partners are Generals Kopelipa and Leopoldino Fragoso do Nascimento.
NDAD had, in the first year, sales valued at one and a half million dollars. But, according to interviews with former employees, “he did not have a true accounting system.” “NDAD’s accounts were controlled through Angodis, by Adélia Bandeira, and we had no way of knowing the company’s financial situation,” said a former finance chief.
On August 14, 2013, Miclet traveled to Luanda to deliver the management of NDAD to Paulo Rasgado and Samora Albino. On the same day, his private jet was prevented from leaving Angola, by orders that Miclet considers to have been given by General Leopoldino Fragoso do Nascimento.
Vincent Miclet, after all the maracutaias, demanded a payment of 82.5 million dollars for his exit from NDAD, claiming that this was the value he injected in the restructuring and import activities of the company. After an audit by Deloitte, its partners made him an offer of $ 26 million, which he says he has declined promptly.
Rafael Marques de Morais(maka angola)