The Provincial Court of Luanda recently returned to the DNIAP, the criminal case number 48/19-DNIAP that investigates the management of Isabel José dos Santos in charge of Sonangol invoking insufficient evidence to proceed with the prosecution of the public prosecutor’s office.
The state oil company at the time of the Presidency of Carlos Saturnino is a participant in the process claiming to have been injured in millions of euros.
“Although he was exonerated on the 15th, the administrator who watched over Finance ordered on the 16th a transfer of 36 million dollars from the BIC bank to Matter Business Solutions DMCC, based in Dubai, and this was not the only transfer, on the 17th four invoices were also paid,” denounced the former PCA, on February 28, 2018.
Carlos Saturnino also revealed payments of heavy salaries in the management of Isabel dos Santos, leading the Attorney General’s Office to announce in March of that year, having opened an investigation to investigate Saturnino’s complaints.
The Attorney General’s Office, according to documents in the possession of Club-K, carried out expert work on Sonangol’s accounts, which comprise from May 26, 2016 to December 31. However, after completing the work, the PGR concluded that there are indications that Isabel dos Santos committed PCA infractions of the company but admits that she has not been able to put together facts that can be used against her considering that the process was poorly instructed in the DNIAP, and therefore will have to be returned to start everything from scratch.
Isabel dos Santos was PCA of Sonangol, and as manager of the state oil company she will have made transfers to companies connoted to that interests such as WISE, IRONSEA, MATTER, KYC and AML. The public prosecutor’s office noted that payments were made to these companies but it turns out that some of them are legally registered on behalf of other people and there is a need to prove documentaryly that Isabel dos Santos is the final beneficiary. The companies are in the names of possible “iron foreheads”.
According to the PGR’s argument, Sonangol was governed by a board of directors, and so all members of this board should be constituted defendants. In the hurry to show work, the PGR only constituted Isabel dos Santos as defendant.
Throughout the investigations, the public prosecutor’s office found that many of the payments made by Isabel dos Santos to the companies of her “iron foreheads” were made by leaving no trace of the participation of the then President. Isabel dos Santos verbally delegated to the former CPE-President of the Executive Committee Paulino Fernando Carvalho Jerônimo. The payments were executed by a non-executive administrator Sarju Raikundalia who had broad powers including the portfolio of finance.
It was also noted that when the Board of Directors met to approve payments in favor of the companies connoted to Isabel dos Santos, she did not vote or be absent on this day. Therefore, his name did not appear in the minutes of these meetings. Based on this, the Court claims that it is complicated to hold Isabel dos Santos responsible for a decision in which she did not vote or did not participate.
According to the explanation documented by the PGR, “the PCA [Isabel dos Santos], does not decide for the other members, and even in terms of voting or issuing an opinion its vote has the same “weight” as the others, so the decisions taken in meetings in which all the other members of the CA subscribe to the decisions taken (by voting and signing the minutes), binds
From the point of view of the court, all former administrators should be constituted defendants of the process, so that in court they could be questioned and their testimonies be validated as verbal evidence, since there is no physical document indicating that Isabel dos Santos was the one who ordered – ordered from behind – payments to companies in the name of alleged iron foreheads. Officially Isabel dos Santos did not order anything to be done because her name does not appear in the minutes of the meetings where they determined the said payments.
From the point of view of the Luanda court, the right recommendation would be to restart the whole process from scratch so that the entire board of directors is taken to the bars of the Court as defendants.
The court, for example, clarictates that the former administrator Sarju Raikundalia should be part of the process since he was appointed by presidential order as a non-executive administrator, but illegally exercised the powers of a financier as mandated and drawn up in a minutes of the Board of Directors number 05/2016 dated July 9, 2016.
Sarjur Raukundalia answered for the portfolios related to the Directorate of Finance, Directorate of Planning, Directorate of Computer Systems, Directorate of Information Technologies, Office of Relations with the State and Taxation, Process Management Unit, Abandonment Fund, Central Directorate of Logistics, Directorate of Risk Management of Sonangol Vida.
All these tasks were given to him by the Board of Directors by going over the presidential decree that appointed him to that position.
“The illegality of the duties of day-to-day management to a non-executive Administrator is flagrant, because it violates the Presidential Decree through which he was appointed, not having the CA/PCA powers to override the said Presidential Decree,” reads the PGR document, considering that in this way “the Board of Directors exceeded its powers and grossly violated the provisions of Presidential
The public prosecutor’s office admits that all acts performed by Sarjur Raukundalia are not NULL, but are NULL.
They understand, however, that all those who deliberated favorably on the attribution of executive powers to Mr.
Sarjur Raukundalia (all members of the CA) should be jointly and severally liable.
Portuguese of Indian origin, Sarjur Raukundalia is no longer in Angola since João Lourenço came to power.
The Court according to a Club-K source recognizes that there is evidence against the former financial administrator Sarjur Raukundalia but he cannot be criminally held responsible for not being accused in this case. According to a PGR source, since there are no documents signed by Isabel dos Santos guiding payments, the former administrator Sarjur Raukundalia had to be constituted defendant right at the beginning of the process so that when testifying he could reveal who verbally gave him the “higher orders” to execute payments.
The same happens with Paulino Fernando de Carvalho Jerónimo who in his capacity as President of the Executive Committee of Sonangol signed documents in favor of the companies in the universe of Isabel dos Santos, among which the distribution of dividends involving Esperaza, agreed by this manager on August 31, 2017.
Paulino Jerónimo, in response to a letter from the company EXAM of Sindika Dokolo dated June 30, 2017, signed a document proposing that the payments they owed to Sonangol could be made in kwanzas by the end of October of that same year. When Carlos Saturnino took over the leadership of the company, he took this case to court claiming that he wanted the dividends in foreign currency according to the content of the contract signed between the parties.
Paulino Jerónimo is currently the chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Oil and Gas Agency. To be constituted defendant and appear in court, the PR would have to exonerate him from the position he holds, which would also cause embarrassment for João Lourenço who recovered him for his executive.
EMPLOYMENT CONTRACTS AND “PARELLAL” PAYROLL
The PGR also noted that “the same members of the CA, appointed by Presidential Order No. 120/16 of 3 June to exercise the functions of executive and non-executive directors, are parties subsequently contracted under individual employment contracts, and the members of governing bodies, including those of CA, are under the mandate of the shareholders, and there is no employment relationship of subordination”.
He realized the existence of employment contracts concluded that themselves allowed the members of the board of directors to “a significant increase in the remuneration hitherto established and earned by the members of the CA”.
It was also verified the existence of a “parallel” salary processing sheet, called “MANDANTE 100”, in which the members of the CA and some Directors were included, these also already hired by the new CA, whose positions were not provided for in the company’s organization chart.
The PGR considers that with this, there was “the intention to hide both the salary increase of the members of the CA and the remuneration of the new hires at the level of the Management positions foreign to the organization chart of the company”.
Thus, according to the PGR “the employment contracts signed with themselves, in which the members of the CA sign as an employer and as a worker are null and void, and all the amounts earned in excess must be reinstated into the coffers of the public company”.
With these practices the PGR considers the members of the CA injured the state coffers by receiving parallel salaries, and for a fair trial they would have to be all constituted and not only Isabel dos Santos, which is why they reiterate that the process was all miseducated and had to be returned to the DNIAP to start from scratch, in order to constitute as defendants all the administrators who
To conclude, the investigation of the PGR considers that, “in conclusive terms, there are indications of a very harmful management by the Board of Directors of Sonangol E.P, in the period under review, as well as by the then Fiscal Council as a body whose powers are reflected in Article 50, paragraph a) b) c) d) and e) , of the Sonangol E.P. then in office, because in all the situations described and facts adduced, Mrs. Isabel dos Santos is always the common piece, the mortar, both between individuals and between legal persons, throughout the web already described, whose main objective was undoubtedly the diversion for their own benefit and that of third parties of large monetary amounts, especially in foreign currency, destined for accounts outside the country, from the coffers of Sonangol E.P., thus damaging the Angolan
It is worth remembering that the expert work of this process against the management of Isabel dos Santos was based on the following points, namely:
1 – Analysis of the legality and calculation of the amounts earned as remuneration by the members of the CA, as well as members of the Board, whose positions are foreign to the organization chart of the company.
2 – Analysis of the legality of payments made to the WISE company by Sonangol EP;
3 – Analysis of the legality of the acts practiced by the Board of Directors and the then Non-Execuing Administrator SARJUR RAIKUNDALIA;
4 – Analysis of the existence of possible conflicts of interest in the process of awarding and contracting companies for the provision of Audit and consulting services to SONANGOL EP;
5 – Analysis and calculation of the overall amount of payments made to WISE/IRONSEA/MATTER companies;
6 – Analysis and calculation of the overall amount of payments made to PWC, BCG and KORN FERRY companies;
7 – Clearance of the total losses occurred in the marketing of the refined product below the established value (Monjasa Company).
According to Club-K, the authorities decided not to make public the information about the return of the process so as not to expose the gaps that occurred during the preparatory instruction. It should be remembered that the seizure of Isabel dos Santos’ assets was based on this process that will now have to start from scratch.
SOURCE: African Contemporaneity