Angola ex-transport minister jailed for 14 years for corruption

An Angola ex-transport minister was on Thursday jailed for 14 years for corruption, making him the first high profile official to be convicted since President Joao Lourenco took office two years ago. 

The Supreme Court found Augusto da Silva Tomas, who was minister under former leader Jose Eduardo dos Santos, guilty of six counts including corruption, embezzlement, money laundering and abuse of power.

Tomas, who was arrested in September last year, is the first most senior former government official to be convicted and jailed for corruption under president Lourenco who has pledged to curb graft.

Judge Joel Leonardo, handed down what he described as a “fair” sentence after the court found that Tomas and his accomplices “unscrupulously appropriated public money for personal economic and financial gains, emptying the state coffers”.

He was found guilty, along with other officials, of diverting millions of dollars of state funds from the state-owned shipping regulatory organisation to their private companies when he was minister during the reign of Dos Santos who ruled Angola for 38 years until 2017.

Dos Santos’s successor, President Lourenco who came to power in 2017 has vowed to fight corruption and rebuild the economy of the second-largest oil producer in sub-Saharan Africa.

He has removed many figures associated with the previous regime, including deposing Dos Santos’ daughter, Isabel from the helm of state oil giant Sonangol.

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