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  • on 01.08.2012
  • at 02:30 PM
  • by Randa Ghazy

Angola: the Angolans’ building in Estoril Sol 2

Displays of wealth by newly rich Angolans have become legendary in Portugal in recent years. Angolan leaders and their families and business associates have been buying up some of the country’s most opulent properties.

A typical case is that of Estoril Sol Residence, a luxury housing complex comprising three buildings of a distinctive and controversial design in Estoril, a coastal suburb of Lisbon. The complex contains some of Portugal’s most expensive apartments, priced at between one million and five million euros per unit. The complex, opened two years ago, is well known as “the Angolans’ building”, since Angolans are the main property owners there, holding title to about 30 apartments.

An investigation by Maka Angola has revealed the names of the rich Angolans who own property in Estoril Sol Residence.

The Minister of Public Administration, Employment and Social Security, António Domingos Pitra Costa Neto, is the owner of five apartments in the Torre Baía building, on the third, fifth, seventh, ninth and fourteenth floors, the first four of these being registered in the name of his daughter, Katila Pitra da Costa, who is a student. According to reports from the office of president José Eduardo dos Santos, Pitra Neto is expected to be the next president of the Angolan National Assembly, after the elections scheduled for 31 August.

On the ninth and fourteenth floors, minister Pitra Neto has the Kopelipa family as neighbours. Two apartments are owned by Fátima Geovetty, the wife of General Manuel Hélder Vieira Dias “Kopelipa”, the Minister of State and head of the President’s Military Bureau. General Kopelipa’s loyal business partner, Domingos Manuel Inglês, has an apartment on the twelfth floor. In the neighbouring Torre Cascais building, a fourth-floor apartment with a great ocean view is the property of Ismênio Coelho Macedo, a Portuguese man who looks after some of the general’s lesser-known business interests.

Another notable owner is the former Finance Minister, José Pedro de Morais, who has four apartments on the first, second, fourth and fifth floors of Torre Baía.

Valdomiro Minoro Dondo, a Brazilian who also holds Angolan nationality, has an eleventh-floor apartment in Torre Estoril. Dondo has had business dealings with General Kopelipa, José Pedro de Morais, Pitra Neto, the presidential family and other influential members of the regime. His capacity for influence peddling has given him the interesting title of “the richest foreigner in Angola.” Another Brazilian, Gerson António de Sousa Nascimento, owns a duplex on the sixth and seventh floors of Torre Estoril.

Walter Virgínio Rodrigues, a business partner and legal representative of the President’s daughter, Welwitchia “Tchizé” dos Santos, showed business had been good for him when he bought an apartment on the eighth floor of Torre Estoril. To celebrate the multi-million dollar contract for the private management of Channel 2 of the Angolan Public Television (TPA) between the Angolan Social Communication Ministry and the company Westside Investments – of which “Tchizé” dos Santos is the majority shareholder – she granted him a bonus of US$500,000, while paying herself a bonus of US$1.5 million out of public funds.

Another Angolan among the select group of owners is Noé Baltazar, the former director of the national diamond company of Angola, Endiama.

Most of the Angolan owners have ostentatiously bought several apartments, regardless of the price. Some of the purchases have aroused the suspicions of the Portuguese justice system, which has opened inquiries. One of those investigated on suspicion of money laundering was the chairman of Banco Espírito Santo Angola (BESA), Álvaro Sobrinho. Investigations by the Portuguese newspaper Diário de Notícias have revealed that on 2 September 2010, Sobrinho acquired six apartments in the Estoril Sol Residence complex with an initial payment of €9.5 million. His brothers, Sílvio e Emanuel Madaleno, also own three apartments at Estoril Sol.

There are other Angolans who have chosen to use intermediaries in order to acquire properties more discreetly. Whether for legitimate investment or for money laundering, Portugal is still the favoured destination of wealthy Angolans.

By Rafael Marques De MoraisallAfrica.com

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  1. Neves Quitando says:

    This building belong to the former worker in former GDR, and barbecue of this we continue to fight and to make many demonstrations in Europa to get our money…The embassy from Angola, a in >Germany is a big, complice of it..as well Mr. Sergio Raimundo ( uniaoangolana@gmx.net )

  2. Mert says:

    please do more than take us to the water’s edge , I esteasinlly meant two things:1. It is true that your blog is, as the young people say these days, teh awesome. But a real hole it seems is that there is never any commentary about what civil society actors IN THE CONGO think about all the complexities you raise nor what they are doing about it. That, in my view, raises some real problems, Jason. Surely you see that? Thus, it would be interesting to hear your thoughts about what THEY are doing with these complexities or hear directly from them. I assume because you work with elites as part of your studies and profession its possible you don’t know any said persons/actors in the Congo who are trying to transform their nation or, perhaps you do and showcasing them here could put their lives at risk. But it would be good to hear their voices once and awhile. You do a fantastic job sketching the Congo and it’s dizzying problems. It is time to start adding color to these sketches, Mr. Stearns. 2. Relatedly, it is not partisan to try, even if its just throwing stuff at the wall, to start facilitating a discussion about solutions to the complexities . Yes, you have elaborated a brilliant framework in post about what, particularly, Americans need to do to move us to a brighter future in the Congo. But it would be interesting for you to lead more discussions here about both those external things and the internal things we need to do. What could that look like? Siassa readers: As you know, Americans have no real interests in the Congo. As such, policy emanating from the Obama Administration is patchwork, disjointed, and woefully in adequate given the challenges facing the nation. From what I know, the main challenge we face here is X, Y, and Z. Given these variables, what should be a goal with the Administration in the short, medium, and long term? Again, just basic facilitation but informed by what I am sure are your many contacts in a variety of places both here and abroad. While I was on my yearly missionary trip to the Congo last year, I purchased and read economist Paul Krugman’s autobiography. Among many interesting things in his book, he recounts how much better an economist he became when he began to blog and write for the New York Times. Like most academics, he was wedded to the complexities . And for good reason. But as he said, there are real people with real problems that his research would effect and it wasn’t until he began a deeper dialogue with real people through his blog and his classes did he see this link clearly. I am not asking you to become Krugman. But, again, try to do more than sketch out, no matter how finely detailed, the problems. We need some color, Jason. Particularly in this moment- however challenged- of opportunity in the Congo. We all really appreciate the blog and, most of us atleast, want you to succeed in bringing light to the world about the Congo. BryceSenior MinisterDecatur Baptist ChurchDecatur, Georgia

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