"The process exists, it came from Portugal, already constituted, there was no work on the process because we had that time when there was immunity. Having passed that time, naturally, we have to work", said Hélder Pitta Grós, after being questioned by Lusa about the lawsuit against the former vice-president and former boss of Sonangol.
Manuel Vicente was protected by the Angolan law of immunity for holders of public office, which limits this protection to five years after the end of the exercise of functions, a period that expired in September.
In 2018, the criminal process initiated in Portugal, known as "Operation Fizz", in which the former Angolan vice president was accused of having corrupted the Portuguese prosecutor Orlando Figueira, caused an "annoying" between the two countries, which became resolved after the Manuel Vicente case was transferred to Angola.
The attorney general, who was speaking in Luanda on the sidelines of a swearing-in ceremony for new sub-attorneys, ruled out any prosecution in the near future.
"It was months ago that immunity ended, we don't have the capacity to [prosecute] so quickly. We would like to, it would be good, but unfortunately not yet", he commented.
Regarding the steps taken over the last few years, he indicated that there were other priorities in that period with which to move forward, so "little or nothing was done" in relation to Manuel Vicente, but guaranteed that "the work has already begun to be done".
The former strongman of the state oil company and 'number two' of former president José Eduardo dos Santos are suspected of being linked to corruption and money laundering schemes when he was working at Sonangol.
In January 2021, Manuel Vicente was heard in the National Assembly as a declarant, within the scope of a process involving Portuguese-Angolan businessman Carlos São Vicente (currently detained) and the transfer of 900 million dollars to Switzerland.
Manuel Vicente's name is also mentioned in the public prosecutor's indictment concerning generals Manuel Hélder Vieira Dias, "Kopelipa" and Leopoldino Fragoso do Nascimento, "Dino", close to former president José Eduardo dos Santos, who died on 8 July this year.
The document states that Angola sold to Sonangol International Holding Limited, a company owned 70 percent by Chinese and 30 percent by Sonangol EP, between December 5, 2004 and November 6, 2007, crude oil totaling 1,598 thousand million dollars "without any clarified benefit for the Angolan State or for Sonangol EP itself".
The former Angolan president is also associated with CIF, a Chinese company whose assets in Angola have passed to the State sphere and with several businesses that have damaged the country in millions of dollars.
Manuel Vicente was the subject of a heritage investigation by the Angolan authorities, with a view to recovering assets, but the amounts recovered are not known.