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Archer Mangueira reacts and says Spanish tax accusations are "personal harassment"

Former Finance Minister Augusto Archer Mangueira said the Spanish tax authorities' accusations of corruption constitute a "personal harassment" that he says has been going on since he was finance minister.

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"I have a hard time looking at the repercussion that is given to alleged facts reported in any way other than as part of personal persecution, since I was invested in the functions of finance minister in September 2016," said Archer Mangueira.

The statement to Lusa follows news in the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, on Monday, which reports an accusation by Spanish tax and judicial authorities of the alleged involvement of former Angolan government officials in a corruption scheme to build a market supplier in Luanda.

"First of all, I declare my full availability to cooperate with the Court in all instances in which I may eventually be called to participate", wrote Archer Mangueira in the note, in which he says he saw the Lusa news, quoting the newspaper El Mundo and the judicial investigations, with "astonishment".

In the note, Archer Mangueira recalls that he was an economic advisor to President José Eduardo dos Santos between December 2001 and January 2010 and guarantees that he did not have "any executive function, nor any involvement in the project in question".

According to the newspaper, which dedicated a page of its Monday print edition to the news, with the title 'A sheet found in Lisbon in 2014 is key evidence of bribes to Angola', the Spanish court concluded that the former deputy - Minister of Commerce Manuel da Cruz Neto, the then national director of Commerce Gomes Cardoso and the former economic advisor to José Eduardo dos Santos and future Minister of Finance Augusto Archer Mangueira, received bribes to allow the construction of a supply market.

In total, these three men will have received 450,000 dollars, the equivalent of 381,000 euros, 200,000 for the first, 100,000 for the second and 150,000 for the third, in a process that was found almost by chance, as it resulted of searches carried out by Portuguese and Spanish authorities in a house in Linda-a-Velha, on the outskirts of Lisbon, seven years ago, in another investigation involving the Portuguese-Angolan businessman Guilherme Taveira Pinto.

At issue is the process that the Spanish authorities are preparing, in which they want to bring to trial 20 people and eight companies, including the public company Mercasa, for irregularities detected between 2006 and 2016 for the construction of a supply market in the capital, Luanda.

According to the National Hearing, a special court that deals with the most serious cases of corruption, commissions were paid to the Angolan authorities and officials to obtain the contract, and the defendants also kept a portion of the funds, which amounted to almost 20 million euros.

In the note sent to Lusa, Archer Mangueira says that "those who are in good faith can only be surprised by the fact that I am associated as "minister of finance" — functions in which I was invested just five years ago and which I held until October 2019 — to the alleged facts, which, having occurred, will date back about 14 years".

Furthermore, he claims to "repudiate such far-fetched orchestration" and criticizes the "forced binding" of the Government, which he says can only serve to "obstruct the unprecedented fight against corruption that is underway.

In the text, the former finance minister and current governor of the province of Namibe also says that he is available "to collaborate in whatever the Justice deems necessary to clarify in this case".

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