Luanda Leaks is a good lesson how to fight modern-day corruption in Ethiopia

For sure, the Queen of Corruption of Angola will go down in flame by Luanda leaks but, her western accomplices will continue business as usual, thanks to the willfully ignorant western Media editors  that see no evil in crimes of corruption in no man’s land of Africa where there is no rule for the ruling party elites and their foreign accomplices.

Teshome Debalke
Feb 6, 2020

In the dance of corruption that left many African nations poor for decades ‘it takes two or more to tango’.

In recent France 24 Media debate on ‘what happened to Angola’s missing millions?’ the Consortium of Investigative Journalists through Luanda Leaks unraveled how the daughter of the Former President José Eduardo dos Santos and associates cleaned out the Angolan treasure of the nation with the highest foreign debt of any African nation with the help of western consulting firms.

What made the expose rare was the involvement of the world’s high-profile consultancy powerhouse like Price & Cooper Waterhouse (PCW) and McKinsey & Company among others were helping the Queen of Corruption Angola Isabel Dos DeSoto to launder vast amount of money through the familiar shell companies in the name of ‘wealth optimization’.

The oil and diamond rich nation of Angola where an average citizen lives under two dollars a day income familiar with most African nations being taken to the laundry by the ruling elites is not new. What is new is who are the friends and associates of the Queen of Corruption Isabel Dos DeSoto and her husband Sindika Dokolo and how and where the money went.

The irony Isabel Dos DeSoto is married to the son of a self-made businessman in the Democratic Republic of Congo Augustin Dokolo better known as and the Founder of the Bank of Kinshasa reviles; in the business of cross-border corruption and money laundering it takes two or more to tango and, it happened global consultancy powerhouses are in it big time as suspected.

Dokolo is as corrupt as his wife in his own right. According to BBC’s  Jul 2017 report titled Sindika Dokolo: Husband of Angola’s Isabel dos Santos convicted of fraud,  he said, “the conviction was politically motivated and that he will appeal against the one-year jail term.”

The ruling elites of the Former Portuguese colony of Angola like the elites of the Former African colonies of England, France, Spain, Italy and Belgium all have one thing in common – unholy marriage of corruption with the elites of their Former colonizers’.  But nothing even comes close to the intensity of African elites with their counterpart in their former colonizers England and France in facilitating corruption.

Ironically, Isabel Dos DeSoto’s lame defense for Luanda leaks like her husband was its “politically motivated” — the same old familiar African ruling elites’ lame excuse not to own their corruption in nations where the rule maker, enforcer and breaker are one and the same.

But, the marriage of corruption in Angola according to the Jan 2020 Guardian report titled The Dimond Deal that rocked Angola  involves the Government of Angola owned Banco Bic Angola under Isabella father 40-years reign and a dozen businesses  around the world including, Exem Holding in Switzerland, Melbourne Investments in the Netherlands, Sodiam in Angola, Victoria Holding Limited in Malta, De Grisogono Holding SA in Luxembourg, Switzerland, Hong Kong, UK and Italy. It illustrates how the people of Africa are taken to the laundry by corrupt elites and their partners in crime around the globe.

Sindika Dokolo

Appears to have invested $4m around the time of the purchase of De Grisogono. He says he has invested $115m in total

Government of Angola

Borrowed $147m to finance the purchase and running of De Grisogono. The loans were taken from Banco Bic Angola which is part-owned by Isabel dos Santos

Exem Holding

Switzerland

Melbourne

Investments

Netherlands

Sodiam

Angola

50%

50%

Victoria Holding

Limited

Malta

Victoria

Limited

Malta

De Grisogono

Holding SA

Luxemborg

De Grisogono SA

Switzerland

De Grisogono

Hong Kong

De Grisogono

UK

De Grisogono

Italia

The New York Times Jan 2020 article titled   How U.S. Firms Helped Africa’s Richest Woman Exploit Her Country’s Wealth put it this way;

“Ms. dos Santos, estimated to be worth over $2 billion, claims she is a self-made woman who never benefited from state funds. But a different picture has emerged under media scrutiny in recent years: She took a cut of Angola’s wealth, often through decrees signed by her father. She acquired stakes in the country’s diamond exports, its dominant mobile phone company, two of its banks and its biggest cement maker, and partnered with the state oil giant to buy into Portugal’s largest petroleum company.”

According to the article “some of the world’s leading professional service firms — including the Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey & Company and PwC — facilitated her efforts to profit from her country’s wealth while lending their legitimacy.”

In all honesty, the New York Times lame excuse not to find out what is going on when a daughter of the President of Angola flashing $2 billion with her Hollywood friends speaks for itself.

But, it should remind us the corrupt ruling elites of Ethiopia that employ the same excuses to undermine the new Prime Minster reform effort as Isabel Dos DeSoto and her husband expected to do in the coming days against their new reformist President Joao Lourenco Angola by employing the same embezzled money to cause more havoc than they already did on the people.

Ironically, Ethiopians don’t have the opportunity of the Consortium of investigative Journalists to find the ‘Mekele Leaks’ that would unravel the extent of Corruption led by the Queen of Corruption Azeb Mesfin.

Mesfin, the wife of the ruling member party TPLF late Chairman and PM of Ethiopia Melse Zenawi and associates’ center of intricate money laundering are believed to be primarily Rome, London, Dubai, Brussels, New York and Hong Kong.

Therefore, Ethiopians must rely on their own to find out who embezzled the billions of dollars from public treasury and where the money stashed.

The Consortium of Investigative Journalists analyzing Luanda Leaks gave a hint on the complex money laundering scheme of modern times involves high-powered consultancy firms employed by the ruling elites in the name of investment and ‘wealth optimization’.

The most visible consultancy firm doing the bidding of the ruling member party led by TPLF in the last two decades was Ernest Young (EY) of London led by its infamous Former East African Managing Partner Zemdenhe Negatu based in Addis Ababa before he closed operation and reemerged as Global Chairman of Fairfax African Fund based in McClain, Virginia.

The ‘24 million Birr’ a year EY ‘consultant’ of the nation’s flagship Airlines was a celebrated expert in advising investors in ‘wealth optimization’ before he moved on to become a private equity fund manager of his own and undisclosed associates’ wealth optimization in Africa.

Unfortunately, to this day, no one knows who authorized his fee and what role he played worth the money he was paid out of the public coffer from one of the poorest nations in the world that still depends on foreign aid.

The London based New African Magazine in 2013 put him as one of the 100 Most Influential Africans as;

“Anyone who has done business in Ethiopia will have come across Zemedeneh Negatu, founder and managing partner of Ernst & Young in Ethiopia. Recently his firm has been responsible for many of the country’s major deals, including British alcoholic beverages company Diageo’s purchase of a local brewery. A true global citizen, having lived and worked extensively in North and Latin America as well as Saudi Arabia, Zem, as he is affectionately known, is often the spokesperson for the private sector at the country’s official international roadshows. He is part of a select group of business leaders who senior members of government consult during their strategy meeting retreats.”

Ironically, Isabel dos Santos of Angola is also included in the list as;


“Businesswoman and daughter to the president of Angola, José Eduardo dos Santos, is worth an estimated $3 billion. With businesses in key sectors such as mining, telecoms, retail and oil, Dos Santos is the youngest female billionaire in Africa. She insists her business dealings are independent of her father, attributing her success to hard work. Those close to her insist she’s as bright and as tough as they come. With an engineering degree from King’s College in London, she shuns the limelight. Married to Congolese art collector Sindika Dokolo, and with her growing business interests, this is a couple we will see much more of in the coming years”

At the meantime, the new high-profile consultancy employed by the Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation’s financed Agriculture Transformation Agency led by the CEO Bomba happen to be the same McKinsey & Company implicated in Luanda Leaks for its money laundering operation of the Queen of Corruption of Angola and her associates. The same firm according to CNN was in hot seat in 2017 0n its South Africa operation.

In an article titled Meet the Ethiopian American Economic Hitman from Wall Street to Poverty Street in the no man’s land that explore corruption in Ethiopia we identify;

“McKinsey & Company’s Sara Boettger is a ‘Senior Adviser for Agriculture Transformation Agency of Ethiopia’ led by Khalid Bambo, the Former Morgen Stanley sovereign fund manager and one of the Gate Foundation’s point man turn CEO of the Ethiopian Agriculture Transformation Agency.

And quoted John Perkins, the former economic hitman and the author of the Confession of an Economic hitman (2004) and the New Confession of the Economic hitman (2016).” Stating;

“I thought about the core tools we EHMs used in my day: false economics that included distorted financial analyses, inflated projections, and rigged accounting books; secrecy, deception, threats, bribes, and extortion; false promises that we never intended to honor; and enslavement through debt and fear. These same tools are used today. Now, as then, many elements are present in each “hit,” although that likely is evident only to someone willing to delve deeply into the story behind the story. Now, as then, the glue that holds all of this together is the belief that any means are justified to achieve the desired ends.”

The article also quoted the Executive Director of Oxfam International Winnie Byanyima August 2016 article titled A powerful and corrupt elite is robbing Africa of its riches stating;

“This is wrong. We must examine the root causes and do something to weed them out. As the Panama Papers show, so much of the tax avoidance or criminal movement of finance on the continent is made possible by a system propped up by a number of banks, law firms and other outfits based outside of Africa, working in collusion with African economic and political elites. It is a system designed in the Global North that helps Africa’s few wealthy and powerful elites to cheat the rest of us.”

Unfortunately, the non-for-profit sector is not immune in the name philanthropic advisory service either.

A good example is Synergos Consulting Service that pride itself as “a global nonprofit organization that brings people together to solve complex problems of poverty” and claim to provide “the social purpose advisory service within Synergos. We help clients generate sustainable economic and social value through their philanthropic efforts, core businesses, and CSR”.

The list of corporate foundations Synergos offers advisory service in what it refers as “to solve complex problems of poverty” are the same corporations accused of unethical business practices with the regime of poor countries in the name of helping.

Take Agriculture – Government & Global Foundation service of Synergos’ in what it refers as “supporting the Gates Foundation, the Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA), and the Ministry of Agriculture to strengthen commodity value chains and the institutions required to unlock the country’s huge agricultural potential. Synergos has established clusters of farmers to scale best practices with barley, tef, sorghum, wheat, and maize.”

The lists of projects and institutions the Gates Foundation funds  including Synergos and the people behind the institutions should give readers a pause and ask; is poverty that complex requiring foreign funding and advisory service than fighting corruption and mismanagement of resources that requires transparency and accountability of the same institution?

Apparently, according to Synergos, Abera Tola Gada is its “Regional Director, based in Ethiopia, leading our efforts in that country to help increase the food security and incomes of smallholder farmers and their families, bolstering the national economy”. He is also referred as Synergos Senior Fellow.

What stood out about Abera’s extensive experience outlined by Synergos Consulting Service is he started “as senior program officer for the Inter-Africa Group, a regional NGO dedicated to peace and development in the African continent”. Unfortunately, what Synergos Consulting Service didn’t tell us, Inter-Africa Group was established in 1989 by Abdul Mohammed, a notorious operative of Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) that moved to Addis Ababa with TPLF that took power from the Military regime of Derg in 1991. No one knows how Inter-Africa Group ended up to be “a regional NGO dedicated to peace and development of the region”  when in reality it is TPLF front that started in the diaspora in 1989 in London  and moved its headquarter to Addis Ababa in 1991 and became the ruling member party that implemented apartheid rule to instigate ethnic conflict within Ethiopia and beyond as witnessed in real time.

Inter-Africa Group’s “longstanding Experience and Commendable Track Record Since 1989” outlined on its own official website speaks; who-is-who and what Inter-Africa Group did or not in the last three decades. The low- profile Abdul Mohammed that masterminded the whole thing remained as Chair of Inter-African Group three decades later and speaks volume; IAG is not “dedicated to peace and development of the region” as it claims but quite the opposite.

But, how Abera Tola Gada that started as senior program officer for the Inter-Africa Group ended up to be a Regional Director of Synergos Consulting Service is only known to the mastermind Abdul Mohammed and associates that started the whole scheme on behalf of their enablers.

Regrettably, noting seems to get in the head of the elites of the so-called mainstream western Media journalists in abandoning their profession either.

Take for instant the latest Bloomberg Businessweek News by John Bowker titled Ethiopia Pushes Privatization to give the Economy a Sugar Rush.

What stood out in the Bowke’s article among many is the collaborators of the article are the same willfully ignorant journalists Nazar Manek, Samuel Gebru, Elen Proper, and Bella Genga of Bloomberg News  who, according to the article “adds greater detail on privatization plans in 5th and 7th paragraph”.

The self-described “Africa Business News editor at Bloomberg” based in Johannesburg according to his twitter profile (https://twitter.com/JohnHBowker) with four of his subordinates appears lost in the jungle of corruption and ended up picking and choosing talking points of the usual interest groups paragraph at a time in direct violation their profession that is visible for trained eyes. He and his subordinate are good cases for Consortium of Investigative Journalists to investigate corruption in the profession of journalism.

The fact, Bloomberg Company LinkedIn Profile shows Bowker started as a UK correspondent for ‘Transport/Defense’ for Thomson Reuters from Apr 2008 – Oct 2009 (1 year 7 months) and moved on as ‘Russian Companies Correspondent’ for Reuters  from  Oct 2009 – Nov 2012 (3 years 2 months) to end up as Business News Editor of Africa from Mar 2013 – Present (6 years 11 months) from Johannesburg, South Africa claiming; “I am responsible for business news coverage in sub-Saharan Africa” encapsulate; how low regard mainstream western Medias across the board have for the African affairs.

To begin with, how an English/Medieval History graduate from the University of St Andrews of Scotland ended up to be a business correspondence for two of the top Media outlets in the world is one thing but, the fact no one including his own Bloomberg subordinates in Ethiopia and Kenya won’t factchecks him when he makes mockery of reporting  on Ethiopia from South Africa shows; mainstream journalists covering African are going amok.

He wrote;

“Ethiopia is among Africa’s most dynamic economies, averaging annual growth of almost 10% for the past decade. Yet the country remains one of the most state-controlled on the continent, a legacy of the Marxist-Leninist Derg regime that ruled from the 1974 coup that deposed Emperor Haile Selassie until a return to democracy in 1991. “The private sector is not playing its natural role,” says Eyob Tekalign, a former diplomat and private equity executive hired by Abiy as state minister for finance. “Our growth had shortcomings in terms of quality, job creation, inclusivity, and benefiting the poor”

In just one paragraph of his article alone he botched the historical reality, fabricated facts, redefined democracy and skipped the reality of what happened from 1991 (“a return to democracy” to 2018 (the new PM emerged by popular revolution) under an ethnic apartheid rule of Ethiopia led by Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) that is causing havoc on the reform effort of the new PM Abiy.  By doing so, he not only accused Prime Minster Abiy government’s State Minster and Minster of Finance Eyob Tekalign is not a government official but a hired hand but, contrary to his official profile he was a former diplomat.

There is no official record Eyob Tekalign being a diplomat of any kind at any time nor, he claimed to be one on his own public profile.

Moreover, according to the esteemed Bloomberg Africa Business News Editor and his subordinates in Africa, factchecking appears to be too inconvenient for the narrative they put out. Nazar Manek in Addis Ababa and Samuel Gebru  in Nairobi are prime example of willfully ignorant Bloomberg correspondents feeding their clueless African Editor in Johannesburg to make a fool of himself reporting fairytales.

The Angola case is illustrates better how mainstem western Medias remained PR tools for interest groups for four decades until Luanda Leaks blew the lid open; the Queen of Corruption of Angola Isabel Dos DeSoto known as the richest women in Africa has partners in her corruption scheme as far as Hollywood, Wall Street and in western capitals.

 

No wonder mainstream Medias see no evil what was the obvious not to rattle her accomplices in western nations in the commission of her crimes in the no-man’s land of Africa. After all, it takes at least two to tango in dance of corruption of African oligarchs and, the criminal code stipulates; the accomplices in a commission of crime are equally liable as the principal. Yet, mainstream Medias put out propaganda as news in no see evil of corruption of the accomplices.

For sure, the Queen of Corruption of Angola is go down in flame alone by Luanda leaks but, her western accomplices will continue business as usual, thanks to the willfully ignorant western Media editors  that see no evil in crimes of corruption in no man’s land of Africa where there is no rule for the ruling party elites’ and their foreign accomplices.

Isn’t that what made Africa a risk-free heaven for willfully corrupt offshore investors no one seems to investigate?

5 COMMENTS

  1. The basic definition of corruption is dishonest or fraudulent conduct by an individual especially he who attempts to hide his identity during the commission such shady schemes. But God must feared for nothing could be kept out of his sight nor forever concealed from the view or notice of others.That irony maybe lost on the so called Teshome Debalke (unknown character ) secreted behind the keyboard. To use corruption in a sentence: “the journalist who wants to expose corruption in high places (or small places) in this case.” Curious though what is it about him and educated Ethiopian journalist? what traumatic experience may have caused his obsessive inferiority complex against such individuals (expressly) a higher degree of comfort and knowledge than is usual or average. God forbid, could he be a commie from our past history? Or is he one of those loners in constant battle with his own inner demons? God forbid. We can only pray that God bless you Ethio jornos and keep on fighting for the rest of us. May God protect Ethiopia and Ethiopian journalists form a willful ignorant and con artist like Teshome (who?).

  2. The basic definition of corruption is dishonest or fraudulent conduct by an individual especially he who attempts to hide his identity during the commission of such shady schemes. But God must be feared for nothing could be kept out of his sight nor forever concealed from the view or notice of others. That irony maybe lost on the so called Teshome Debalke (unknown character ) secreted behind the keyboard. To use corruption in a sentence: “the journalist who wants to expose corruption in high places (or small places) in this case.” Curious though what is it about him and educated Ethiopian journalist? what traumatic experience may have caused his obsessive inferiority complex against such individuals (expressly) a higher degree of comfort and knowledge than is usual or average. God forbid, could he be a commie from our past history? Or is he one of those loners in constant battle with his own inner demons? God forbid. We can only pray that God bless you Ethio jornos and keep on fighting for the rest of us. May God protect Ethiopia and Ethiopian journalists form a willful ignorant and con artist like Teshome (who?).

  3. How true they say”While the heart of a fool is in his mouth, the mouth of a wise man is in his heart.” Think of our missing abducted youth university students and the deep pain of their families. The leopard keeps an eye on the goat, and the goat keeps an eye on the leaves. Who is watching their back? What’s their fate? The economist and philosopher Adam Smith once attested that you should not trust anyone who professes to trade for the public good. Speaking of treachery, false-heartedness and double-dealing how about the community college teacher turned fundraiser? A rat’s witness is another rat. LOL 🙂 Be suspicious of park photos with goofy hats to imply all honky dory. Ethiopia’s in trouble, but if one hides their illness, they can never find the cure. Let’s hope Bloomberg’s Ethiopia reporter Samuel Gebru looks into it, not the wacky hat, but the falling trust fund fiasco that people are gossiping about on Facebook. It’s right in his home turf related to diaspora finance and Ethiopia. Regardless it pleases the heart despite the flowery BS the Ethiopian Movement #BringBackOurStudents demands response from the government. One should speak out when the preacher the first time comes home with a stolen egg, or else, the day he returns home with a stolen ox, it will be too late. One may have two legs, but that does not mean one can climb two trees at the same time.

  4. Why are Africans always looking to the West to clean up their own mess? Isabel Dos DeSotos is Africa’s problem not the New York Times. The western media this, the western media that sounds like a broken tape SONG. Let’s support our own media instead.

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