Ver Angola

Defense

Manuel Rabelais sentenced to 14 and a half years in prison for embezzlement and money laundering

The Supreme Court sentenced the former Minister of Social Communication and director of the now extinct Grecima, Manuel Rabelais, to 14 years and six months in prison for the crimes of embezzlement and money laundering.

:

The co-defendant in the case, Hilário Gaspar Santos, at the time of the facts administrative assistant of Grecima, was sentenced to 10 years and six months in prison for the same crimes.

Manuel Rabelais, former Minister of Social Communication, was listed in the case as former director of the former Office of Revitalization of Institutional Communication and Marketing of the Administration (Grecima), for acts committed between 2016 and 2017.

The sentence was presented this Monday by the judge of the cause Daniel Modesto, who at the end of his presentation said that the defendants, during the trial hearings, "showed no repentance and tried to cunningly dodge the unlawful acts they knew they had committed."

For the crime of embezzlement, Manuel Rabelais was sentenced to 13 years in prison and for money laundering to 4 years and 10 months in prison.

Hilário Gaspar Santos was sentenced to 8 years and 6 months for the crime of embezzlement and 4 years and 10 months for the crime of money laundering.

"The Court based its decision, essentially, on the devaluation that the defendants had of their acts, which presupposes that at no time did the defendants seek to show regret," said Judge Daniel Modesto in his speech after reading the judgment.

"And confess in a clear way what effectively happened, on the contrary, they sought in an evasive way to evade the facts that they knew they had unlawfully committed," emphasized the magistrate judge.

Both defendants were also ordered to pay a court fee of 250,000 kwanzas each.

The penalties applied to the defendants were based on the new Penal Code, in force two months ago.

The law decriminalized the crime of violating the rules of the plan and budget of which the defendants had been accused and indicted. They were also acquitted of the crime of undue receipt of advantages.

Manuel Rabelais is a member of parliament for the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), having his mandate and immunities suspended by the parliament.

According to the indictment, the defendants defrauded the state of more than 22.9 billion kwanzas, being 4.6 billion kwanzas received directly from the General State Budget (OGE) and 18.3 billion kwanzas from foreign exchange received from the National Bank of Angola (BNA).

Grecima was created in May 2012, as an auxiliary body of former President José Eduardo dos Santos, and extinguished in 2017 by the current President, João Lourenço.

The institution had accounts domiciled at Banco de Comércio Indústria (BCI) where a large part of the foreign currency acquired at the BNA was channeled, and at other commercial banks, namely BAI (Banco Angolano de Investimentos), BIC (Banco Internacional de Crédito), SOL and BPC (Banco de Poupança e Crédito).

This Monday, the judge of the case reaffirmed, during the presentation of the judgment, that Manuel Rabelais, assisted by Hilário Santos, "transformed Grecima into a real exchange house, attracting companies and individuals to deposit kwanzas in exchange for foreign currency, selling foreign currency at a higher exchange rate" than that practiced by the BNA and commercial banks.

The TS pointed out that it was proven that the co-accused Hilário Gaspar Santos was the "recruiter of the companies" that bought foreign currency from Grecima and that he was not an employee of this body, but of the National Radio of Angola "and therefore a public servant."

"The defendants violated the norms of morality, ethics and thrift by misappropriating all the money of GRECIMA, even after the extinction of the body and even destroyed documents, all done to leave no trace," the judge noted.

The Supreme Court also noted that the defendants used all the money of that body for their own benefit, noting that more than 16.1 million euros were transferred abroad to accounts of various companies, "some of which Manuel Rabelais is a partner.

As for the alleged authorization of the former President, Daniel Modesto reported that José Eduardo dos Santos, in a letter to the TS, said he knew nothing of the operations of Grecima, "because the monitoring was done by the head of the Security House of the President of the Republic.

The defense, for its part, filed an appeal with suspensive effect, accepted at the time by the judge of the case, so the defendants should await the appeal in freedom.

Related