Ver Angola


Lawyers call for suspension and disciplinary proceedings against Supreme Court president

A group of Angolan lawyers filed a class action with the Supreme Court (TS), asking for the suspension of the body's presiding judge, Joel Leonardo, and the “immediate initiation” of disciplinary proceedings, for alleged corrupt practices.


The group of lawyers, led by lawyer José Luís António Domingos, referred the collective administrative popular action to the Civil, Administrative, Tax and Customs Chamber of the Angolan TS, according to the document to which Lusa had access.

According to the complainants, the facts listed for this action are in the public domain, through publications in digital media outlets and "are no longer protected by judicial secrecy, after having been widely publicized and without any reaction from the competent authorities" .

"In view of the serious allegations against the revered presiding judge of the TS, Joel Leonardo, what moves us, in this action, is not the veracity or falsity of the accusations against him, but the inaction of the Superior Council of the Judiciary (CSMJ), which has a constitutional duty to act in situations of this kind and beyond", they say.

Joel Leonardo, president of the TS and inherent role of the CSMJ, is being investigated by the Attorney General's Office on suspicions of corruption, nepotism, mismanagement of the body and others, accusations that have been going on for months.

The subscribers to the popular action state that "it cannot be allowed" for a judge who holds the highest position in the national judicial judiciary to be the target, "in the public square, of serious accusations, which annihilate his suitability as a judicial magistrate, without the CSMJ open the competent investigation to find out what is really going on".

They note that the "institutional silence" fuels speculation and the "conviction that the accusations may be true".

According to lawyers, their initiative is supported by the Popular Action Law and they consider that judges must have an immaculate reputation and courts must be credible aiming for a common good of collective interest.

They explain, in the text, that the present popular action aims to suspend the duties of judge advisor Joel Leonardo, as presiding judge of the Supreme Court, and the "immediate initiation of disciplinary proceedings due to serious facts of which he has been publicly accused".

"The aim of this preventive administrative popular action is for the TS to order the CSMJ to suspend and open disciplinary proceedings against judge Joel Leonardo. The competent main action will follow", they emphasize.

Without prejudice to the presumption of innocence, they observe, "there are a variety of behaviors that have been attributed to judge Joel Leonardo that imply that the CSMJ opens disciplinary proceedings and suspends him from his duties, instead of opting for inaction", they criticize.

The lawyers recall a series of acts that constitute alleged corruption by judge Joel Leonardo, such as alleged diversion of Treasury revenues in the amount of 128 million kwanzas, alleged irregular transfer of the TS account in his favor in the amount of 30 million kwanzas, alleged payments of 13 million kwanzas to a private residence with funds from the CSMJ and others.

The lawyers also point out, in their class action, that it is not a question of confirming or not the suspicions regarding incorrect, possibly criminal, behavior by Joel Leonardo: "That is up to a criminal court", they emphasize.

They add that what is being invoked "is the existence of sufficiently strong public suspicions that undermine the confidence of the presiding judge and force the Superior Council of the Judiciary to open a disciplinary investigation and suspend him".

Various circles of civil society and the Angolan opposition have criticized the constant accusations against the presiding judge of the Supreme Court and question the independence of the Angolan judiciary, given the allegations against the magistrate.


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