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15 Nov 2013 00:00
Angola's President José Eduardo dos Santos. (AFP)
An army general close to Angola's President José Eduardo dos Santos and married to one of his relatives has been placed on the Interpol wanted list by the Brazilian police on charges of trafficking women for the purposes of sexual exploitation.
Bento dos Santos Kangamba, one of Angola’s most powerful politicians, has been linked to the trafficking of Brazilian women to countries including Angola, South Africa, Portugal and Austria.
The Interpol notice is deeply embarrassing for Dos Santos, as the general is married to Avelina Escorció dos Santos, his niece, and is a die-hard supporter of Angola’s ruling MPLA party.
Kangamba also has an informal office within the security apparatus of the presidency.
The Brazilian police uncovered the trafficking network in a year-long operation called Operação Garina, led by the federal police commissioner of São Paulo, Luis Tempestini. Garina means young girl in Angolan slang.
The Brazilians also made a formal request for the detention of Angolan businessman Fernando Vasco Inacio Republicano in connection with the alleged trafficking, which is said to have been in operation for at least 10 years and to have involved a total turnover of $45-million (R466-million).
Seven people have been arrested in Brazil in connection with the alleged crimes.
No extradtition treaty
The problem facing the Brazilian authorities is that no extradition treaty exists between Angola and Brazil.
In October 2011, the Angolan Parliament approved a treaty for the transfer of prisoners between the two countries and mutual judicial aid requiring the exchange of fugitives from justice.
In June this year, police tried to detain Kangamba in Monaco in connection with the transportation of $3-million in cash from Portugal to France. He avoided arrest by using his diplomatic passport.
Five people, including Angolan, Portuguese and Cape Verde nationals were detained in France in July this year in connection with the illegal transportation of money.
Among items seized by French police were a registry of diamond transactions and banking transfers in Israel and Switzerland.
Kangamba has denied all accusations relating to the alleged trafficking of women and money laundering.
Dos Santos and his party have remained silent on the matter.
The Kangamba story comes at a time when the Dos Santos government is dealing with scandals of nepotism and corruption, and deputy president Manuel Domingos Vicente and attorney general João Maria de Sousa are being investigated in Portugal for money laundering.
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