João Lourenço gave a speech this Wednesday at the Presidential Palace, in Luanda, where he swore in eight new counselor judges of the Supreme Court (TS), and justified his absence from the opening session of the judicial year because of the alleged actions of the judge-president from TdC, Exalgina Gamboa.
"For the first time this year, I speak before the judges of the courts, more specifically the supreme, due to the fact that he declined to preside over the solemn opening session of the judicial year at a very troubled time for the Angolan justice", said João Lourenço.
According to the head of state, the aforementioned troubled period began with public complaints against the magistrate's management and the Public Prosecutor's Office "did not ignore the complaints".
Subsequently, "irrefutable facts were later discovered, much more serious than those of the public complaint, attributable to the same advisory judge that point to an attempt to extort the Minister of Energy and Water", he pointed out.
According to the head of state, the judge asked the Minister of Mineral Resources and Petroleum for 1 percent of the share capital of the Lobito Refinery as if that were normal and possible in Angola today, which, together, we are building by fighting corruption and impunity as our banner".
João Lourenço also said, alluding to article 175 of the Constitution, that the independence of the courts is limited to the exercise of their jurisdictional function. For this reason, "as the nation's highest magistrate, I could not remain indifferent in the face of such serious situations".
"In such a way that under the powers that the CRA confers on him, the head of state invited the advisory judge in question to resign, having been subsequently constituted accused by the Public Prosecution Service", he stressed.
As the law establishes for these cases, he continued, the Superior Council of the Judiciary (CSMJ) will trigger the process to fill the vacancy and the head of state will nominate "from among any of the advisory judges" the future venerable advisory judge president of the TdC.
The President, João Lourenço, announced, at the end of February, that he had invited Exalgina Gamboa to resign on the 21st of February due to several "occurrences" involving her, but the judge would only resign days later, after having asked early retirement and having been constituted as a defendant.
Crimes of extortion, embezzlement and corruption are indicted against Exalgina Gamboa, in a case that also includes her son Hailé Vicente da Cruz, who is also accused.
According to the Maka Angola website, the President of the Republic met with Exalgina Gambôa at the Palácio da Cidade Alta, on 14 February in the presence of the ministers of Petroleum and Mineral Resources and of Energy and Water, respectively Diamantino de Azevedo and João Baptista Borges, for a confrontation regarding percentages in business and alleged acts of blackmail for the approval of ministerial contracts submitted to the preventive inspection of the Court of Auditors.
João Lourenço will have learned that Exalgina Gambôa summoned the Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources to demand that he include her, with one percent, in the shareholder structure of the Lobito Refinery, saying that she would have had the consent of the chief executive.
In turn, the son of the president of the Court of Auditors, Hailé Cruz, contacted the Minister of Energy and Water to demand the multimillion-dollar deal to build high voltage transmission lines in the country's electrification project, according to Maka Angola.
"At the meeting, Exalgina Gambôa stated, according to our sources, that she had the right 'not to leave office poor'", adds the website run by the activist and journalist, Rafael Marques de Morais.