A Portugues court has ruled that Angola’s Vice President, Manuel Vicente, should face trial over bribery allegations brought against him by a prosecutor in February this year, the AFP news agency has reported citing media the European country.
The ruling comes four months after the Prosecutor General brought charges of corruption and money laundering against Vicente in a case dating far back to when he was head of Sonangol – Angola’s national oil firm.
He is accused of bribing a magistrate in order to shelve investigations into his deals at the oil company.
I'm astounded that my client has been accused, not only because he had nothing to do with the facts but also because he has never been questioned about them.
He is also alleged to have given a former prosecutor, one Orlando Figueira, a bribe of $810,000 as part of the corrupt deal. Figueira has been arrested last year and appropriately charged. Vicente has denied the allegations.
Vicente headed Sonangol between 2009 and 2012. That post is currently held by Isabel dos Santos, powerful daughter of outgoing President Eduardo dos Santos. Angola and Nigeria are Africa’s top oil producers.
The southern African country has repeatedly described previous attempts by Portuguese authorities to investigate the Vice-President as “revenge by the former colonial master” and “neo-colonialism”.
Back in February when the prosecutor brough the charges, Vicente’s legal representative expressed shock at the move, “I’m astounded that my client has been accused, not only because he had nothing to do with the facts but also because he has never been questioned about them,” Rui Patricio said.