Ver Angola


Lussati trial remains tense in Luanda, police called and appointed lawyer suspended

The trial of the Lussati case continues in a tense atmosphere, with the disagreement between lawyers and judges rising in tone, police called to court and the appointment of an unofficial lawyer who is finally suspended.


More than a month after the start of the media trial, in which the protagonist is Major Lussati, assigned to the Military House of the President of the Republic and caught in possession of suitcases with millions of dollars and kwanzas, the indictment was finally read, not before the police were called to the scene to force the representatives of 15 of the 49 defendants out of the room, whose removal was decided by the judge who presides over the panel, Andrade da Silva.

The sessions had been interrupted on the 31st of July, due to disagreements between the judge and the lawyers, which led on that day about half of the 36 legal representatives to leave the room in protest, and the court ordered that new representatives be appointed for 15 of the defendants.

On Monday, the date set for the restart, the judge was not present and the session, which was scheduled for 09:00 am, only started around 6 pm.

Picasso da Costa Andrade, accompanied by lawyers Wilson Fernandes and Hélio de Carvalho, told Lusa that the tug of war between the judge and the lawyers lasted all morning, after the court learned that the original representatives were in the room of the trial, since the defendants wanted to keep the same defenders, a claim to which the judge did not respond.

According to the lawyer, the court instead tried to use force to impose order in the room, having called "two or three rapid intervention police vans, to bring about a certain scenario of fear".

When approached by the police, who told the lawyers that they would have to leave the room by order of the judge in the case, the defenders chose to leave.

"As it was not our intention to clash with law enforcement or create a fuss, we decided to withdraw and stay in the hall" of the Talatona Convention Center, where the trial is taking place, given the lack of conditions of the Luanda Provincial Court to host this mega-process with almost 50 defendants, more than 30 lawyers and more than 200 deponents.

Only around 5:00 pm, lawyers began to be called for the beginning of the session, leaving out the majority, due to the disagreement with the judge, who, however, appointed an unofficial lawyer to replace the rejected representatives.

Picasso Costa Andrade told Lusa that the unofficial lawyer (João Mbuia) is suspended, so he is not qualified to practice the profession.

"Whoever is suspended cannot practice law acts under penalty of illegal exercise of the profession", he said, stressing that the Bar Association will soon pronounce on this matter.

The lawyer will be suspended for not paying the Order's dues since October 2021, he revealed.

The reading of the indictment took about four hours, ending at around 9 pm, and sessions are expected to resume on Wednesday.

The defendants, including officers of the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA) and civilians, are accused of 13 crimes, including embezzlement, criminal association, undue receipt of advantage, economic participation in business and money laundering.


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