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Posted by portugalpress on May 11, 2018

Former Angolan vice president Manuel Vicente has got what he wanted. The corruption charges against him will not be heard in Portugal - where he is alleged to have bribed a magistrate - they will be tried in Angola, which has already said a number of occasions that it hasn’t got “the capacity” to hear the case, even if there was the political will to do so.

For Portugal’s government, this is the tidiest solution. As both President Marcelo and prime minister António Costa have said, it removes “the irritation” in the way of mutually beneficial relations.

This morning, Marcelo has already been in touch with his Angolan counterpart João Lourenço where the pair “reiterated the fraternal friendly relations between the two countries”.

Where this leaves “Operation Fizz” - currently being heard in court and centering on alleged corruption involving Vicente - no one can tell.

The trial has been overshadowed by accusations and recriminations, and the key defendant has already been described by his sister as a ‘totó’ (which means a rather naive person).

One person who feels Vicente has received ridiculously preferential treatment is feisty MEP Ana Gomes: a Socialist dedicated to tackling corruption.

Talking to Lusa, Gomes feels Vicente’s good fortune is a “tremendous dismissal” of Portuguese justice based on “hypocritical arguments” which she feels will do Luso-Angolan relations no favours at all.

In her opinion, “the only thing that can improve relations between Portugal and Angola is for Portugal to do what it has to to stop being a laundry for the corrupt of the kleptocracy in Angola” (kleptocracy being a government that uses its power to steal from its people).

“Even before being vice- president (Manuel Vicente) was involved in money-laundering schemes in which our country is the laundry”, Gomes insisted, vowing the matter “won’t stop here”.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com

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