Ver Angola


Lawyers call ministers and former rulers and point to illegal detentions in the Lussati case

The first day of the trial in the Lussati case, which involves military personnel linked to the Presidency, was dedicated to preliminary questions and procedural matters, with illegalities being invoked in the arrests and hearings requested with ministers and former Angolan rulers.

: Borralho Ndomba/DW
Borralho Ndomba/DW  

For more than eight hours, the approximately 30 lawyers representing the 49 defendants in this mega-process, known as "Operação Caranguejo" and which has Major Pedro Lussati, the alleged ringleader of a fraudulent payments scheme, the main protagonist, reeled off numerous questions and contestations, between interruptions and warnings from the panel of judges.

On more than one occasion, the presiding judge, Andrade Silva, admonished the lawyers for their lengthy interventions, asking them to be "telegraphic" in the presentation of preliminary questions, ending up cutting off the floor to those who did not respect the request.

Complaints related to non-payment of wages, unblocking of accounts and excessive pre-trial detention were issues raised by several lawyers.

The representatives of Pedro Lussati and his nephew, Fernando Moisés Dumbo, tried to demonstrate to the judges the possible nullity of the process, since both had been illegally detained, which they said proved with the fact that the arrest warrant had been signed, allegedly , after being arrested.

Fernando Moisés Dumbo's lawyer stated that his constituent, like his uncle, were kidnapped and beaten on 13 May and the arrest warrants signed in prison on 24 May.

"Fernando Dumbo was kidnapped and brutally beaten, like his uncle, Major Pedro Lussati, by men from SINSE [State Intelligence and Security Services] in collaboration with SIC [Criminal Investigation Service] agents. of detention was presented only 11 days later", underlined the lawyer, Eugénia Teca.

Several of the judicial representatives asked the court to rule on the fact that the payments of the defendants' salaries, even those with unblocked accounts, are not being made, leaving their families in difficulties.
Others called for the release of their constituents, invoking excessive preventive detention or the illegality of detention, as in the case of Lussati and his nephew.

Questions were also raised regarding the illegitimacy and incompetence of the court to judge a case involving military personnel.

It was also requested the hearing of more deponents who will be able to join an already extensive list of more than 200 witnesses.

Among these are Adão de Almeida, Minister of State and current head of the Civil House of the President of the Republic, the former Ministers of Finance at the time of the facts and up to the present, the former and current head of the Military House of the President of the Republic.

Shortly after 18:00, the session continued, with 22 representatives having been heard so far, so only this Wednesday should the indictment be read.

Among the defendants are officers of the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA) and civilians, accused of embezzlement, criminal association, undue receipt of advantage, economic participation in business, abuse of power, fraud in the transport or transfer of currency abroad, illicit introduction of foreign currency into the country, illegal currency trading, prohibition of cash payments, withholding of currency, forgery of documents, money laundering and assuming false identity.

Pedro Lussati, considered the leader of the group, was arrested in possession of millions of dollars, euros and kwanzas stored in suitcases and crates, and he also owned more than a dozen vehicles.

The long list of witnesses, who will be heard in July and August, include the names of Manuel Vieira Dias "Kopelipa" and Higino Carneiro, among other top FAA generals.

Following these arrests, several officers linked to the Angolan President's Security House were dismissed, including General Pedro Sebastião, then Minister of State and head of Security House of João Lourenço, who was replaced in office by General Francisco Pereira Furtado.


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