Mass Corruption Trial of Angola Army Officers Starts

Mass Corruption Trial of Angola Army Officers Starts (News Central TV)

Nearly 50 members of the Angolan army and state security are currently being tried for a variety of offenses, including corruption and abuse of power.

The majority of them worked for the previous administration of José Eduardo dos Santos.

Authorities said that their crimes cost the state more than $50 million (£41 million). There are more than 200 witnesses scheduled to give testimony.

One of the defense attorneys declared that he will attempt to have the trial dismissed for procedural errors.

When President Joao Lourenço assumed office in 2017, he made a commitment to combat the widespread corruption that had grown under Dos Santos, his predecessor.

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Prosecutors in Angola earlier last year accused the officers of being involved in caches of international and domestic currency seized in boxes and luggage. There are more than 30 lawyers defending the accused.

Francisco Muteka, one of the defence lawyers, said he would seek to have the trial stopped “because we found several irregularities at the preparatory instruction of the process”.

Another lawyer, Osvaldo Carlos, complained about the suspension of the defendants’ salaries following their arrest in May.

“The process began and continued with grave irregularities,” he said.

Opposition politician and lawyer Helder Chihuto remarked outside court that the suspects were “small fish”. “The big fish must also be brought to court”. If convicted the suspects face anything between 15 to 20 years in jail.

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