Angola: US regulator may bring charges over alleged oil corruption

The US Securities and Exchange Commission announced at the beginning of August that it had issued a Wells Notice, indicating that it could bring charges against Texas based Cobalt International Energy, over its operations in Angola.


The notice follows a three year investigation into Cobalt over allegations made by Rafael Marques de Morais, an anti-corruption activist, that it partnered with Nazaki Oil and Gaz, which is claimed to be a shell company owned by high ranking Angolan officials.


Anti corruption watchdog Global Witness has also raised concerns about ‘social payments’ made by international oil companies in Angola. Global Witness alleges that Statoil, BP and Cobalt are paying over US$350 million towards a research centre which doesn’t yet exist, as part of their contracts for Block 20. They are concerned that the money could have been misappropriated. The oil companies claim they are not responsible for money once it is paid to state oil company Sonangol.


Simon Taylor, director of Global Witness said “In the U.S. BP and a handful of other big oil companies are lobbying to weaken transparency rules that would enable citizens to effectively ‘follow the money’ from natural resource deals in African countries. Meanwhile many resource-rich countries including Angola are still failing to adequately disclose where billions of dollars are going from oil revenues paid by these companies.”


Source: Angola Monitor Issue 4/14

The Angola Monitor covers the politics, economics, development, democracy and human rights of Angola. It is published quarterly by Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA).

This issue covers:

Political News: State of the Nation; Census figures announced; Local government elections delayed; Falling oil prices reduce public spending; Angola elected to UN Security Council; Luanda gets new governor.

Economic News: Angola set to become largest oil producer in sub Saharan Africa; US regulator may bring charges over alleged oil corruption; Government reduces fuel subsidies; Major telecommunication upgrade announced; National airline TAAG enters partnership with Emirates; Government bond rating upgraded.

Human Rights News: Amnesty International accuse government of demonstration ban; Final refugees returning to Angola; NGOs call on SADC to address human rights violations; Government claims it respects free speech and the right to protest.

Aid and Development News: Redevelopment of Angola’s largest railway complete; European Union invests 20 million Euros in landmine clearing; Drought response receives support from Japan.

This issue is also available in Portuguese.

We welcome readers’ responses to the Angola Monitor. Please send your comments to For more news and information on Angola and southern Africa visit the ACTSA website

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