Lieutenant General Luís Ernesto Simão, who headed the body responsible for the security of the President between 1996 and September 2017, was one of the witnesses listed in the high-profile Lussati case, heard at the Luanda District Court.
During the production of evidence, the official of the Armed Forces of Angola (FAA) confirmed that he worked with the defendants Idelfonso Ferraz, Pedro Lussati, Edmundo Tchitangofina, fugitive defendant, Jacinto Hengombe, Jacinto Gama and others.
Co-defendants Idelfonso Ferraz and Gama, he explained, were the officers responsible for drawing up withdrawal orders for issuing wages.
Pedro Lussati "had nothing to do with issuing a withdrawal order, his function was to plan the various payments (salaries and allowances) of the staff of the Security House of the President of the Republic, in the José Eduardo dos Santos era, and Edmundo Tchitangofina performed the same functions", he said.
Luís Ernesto Simão said that the salary sheets of units assigned to the agency, namely the Military Construction Brigade, Presidential Guard Unit (UGP), Presidential Security Unit (USP), Strategic Objectives Protection Unit (UPOE), Special Cleaning (BEL), and Central Supply Brigade (BCA) were prepared by the respective finance officers.
The same process was similar to the Brigada de Transportes Rodoviários (BTR) and the demining battalions, both from Cuando Cubango province, added the FAA official, when questioned by the Public Ministry.
Regarding the salary sheet of the music band of the Casa de Segurança do Presidente da República, which the prosecution charges Pedro Lussati with alleged embezzlement of salaries, the witness said that it was prepared by the general secretary of the organ.
In the case of the defense, the lieutenant general stated that Major Pedro Lussati "was not the financier" of the Casa de Segurança music band: "Because this band had its financial that was responsible for paying the staff".
"I don't remember accrediting Major Lussati for that purpose", he shot.
"No individual drawing order was ever issued to any of my officers I worked with," he assured.
The Lussati case, in which 49 defendants are listed, has as its visible face Major Pedro Lussati, assigned to the Military House of the Presidency of the Republic, considered the head of the group, detained in possession of millions of dollars, euros and kwanzas stored in suitcases, crates and in several vehicles.
The former commander of the BTR of the UGP/Cuando-Cubango, Colonel Manuel Correia, said in court on 2 September that he "delivered several times" to Major Pedro Lussati "bags of money" with around 25 million kwanzas.
According to Manuel Correia, one of the 49 defendants in the Lussati case, the amount, remaining from the salaries of the UGP staff in that province, was also handed over, in Luanda, to co-defendant Edmundo Tchitangufina in an alternate manner.
Pedro Lussati and Tchitangufina, a fugitive defendant, explained the colonel, received the amounts "monthly under the official guidance of General Hélder Vieira Dias 'Kopelipa'", former Minister of State and head of the President's Security House, then José Eduardo dos Santos.
Manuel Correia also said that Generals Eusébio de Brito and António Mateus Júnior de Carvalho "Dilangue" were the other beneficiaries of the surplus salary of the UGP of Cuando Cubango, whose bags of money were delivered to the generals at gas stations, restaurants or places indicated by these in Luanda.
Lieutenant General Luís Ernesto Simão denied the existence of any remaining salary from Cuando Cubango, because the unit "received the full amount" and said he was unaware that BTR's money was kept in the commander's house.
Regarding the alleged bags of money, which were sent weekly to Luanda, the former secretary-general of the Security House of the President of the Republic said he had no knowledge.
"But if there were (bags of money) I was an orphan, because I didn't see when and where these bags were delivered in Luanda and to the aforementioned beneficiaries", he said.
In all units assigned to the President's security agency, he assured, "there were never any complaints of delays or lack of salaries".
The lieutenant general also denied the influence of Pedro Lussati in the process of recruiting and selecting BTR personnel, reaffirming that Lussati and Tchitangofina "only drew up payment plans and did not manage financially".
After the hearing, lawyer Francisco Muteka, representative of Pedro Lussati, expressed satisfaction with the intervention of General Luís Ernesto Simão, referring that the witness went to court "to provide information with truth".
"And in fact he said what the defense wanted to know, he duly clarified the facts regarding the process before the trial judge and everything indicates that, in fact, this process still has a lot to say and don't be surprised if Major Lussati will be acquitted, this is the way", stressed Francisco Muteka.
More than 200 deponents are involved in this mega process whose trial hearings, under the supervision of the Luanda District Court, take place at the Talatona Convention Center.
The defendants, including FAA officials and civilians, are indicted for crimes of embezzlement, criminal association, undue receipt of advantage, economic participation in business, abuse of power, fraud in the transport or transfer of currency abroad and others.