Angola: Why is it called corruption when it is in Africa and lobbying when it is happening in Washington DC?

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In June 2019, Washington Squire Patton Boggs (SPB) was awarded the $4.1 million contract by the government of Angola.

Officially, the goal was to promote Angola’s national interest. But in fact SPB was not paid to do legal work.

The money was used to lobby or exert influence over Americans and foreign officials in support of the Angolan effort to prosecute former President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos and his family.

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The President of The Republic of Angola Mr. Joao Manuel Goncalves LOURENCO arrives in the Russian Federation for an official visit to take part in the Russia–Africa Summit, which will be held 23–24 October in Sochi. Photo: Donat Sorokin and Valery Sharifulin/TASS
The President of The Republic of Angola Mr. Joao Manuel Goncalves LOURENCO arrives in the Russian Federation for an official visit to take part in the Russia–Africa Summit, which will be held 23–24 October in Sochi. Photo: Donat Sorokin and Valery Sharifulin/TASS

SPB, which was struggling financially, had a long list of dubious clients and was pushing dubious causes, and was happy to take the money and get to work.

SPB spent at least $2 million, according to federal filings on a chain of outside lobbyists.

That chain leads to interesting people.

SPB hired a Malta firm called Erme Capital which is owned by the same family that runs another company called Dominio widely believed to control by Manuel Vicente.

Vicente, the former Vice President of Angola was caught paying hundreds of thousands in bribe to a Portuguese prosecutor to quash a case.

That prosecutor is serving a six year sentence for his crime. Vicente, somehow got his case sent to Angola where it was quickly dismissed.

And he became a special adviser to the current President of Angola João Lourenço a.k.a. the TERMINATOR, the man who promised to clean up the Angolan politics.

Lourenço, a master media manipulator promised voters and the world that he would fight corruption and root out dirty politicians. That was the promise that got him elected in 2017.

Since then, it has become all too apparent that the terminator is not cleaning up corruption, he is just cleaning up!

His so-called anti-corruption drive is increasingly seen as little more than a campaign to strip the family of his predecessor of his assets while protecting corrupt officials who support him.

So why is an American firm in a dispute over the spoils of corruption in a faraway African country?

The answer is simple: MONEY.

For its $4.1 million payout, SPB approached no less than 320 American officials to promote the agenda the Angola regime was pushing.

It is not clear whether the money was all spent on wining and dining or whether some officials were bribed.

There is no way of telling where corruption stops and bribery begins because they are really the same thing.

Why is it that what we called corruption in Angola is called lobbying when it happens in Washington D.C.?

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