TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
I bring to your attention a case story, which is about how wrongdoing, unethical behavior, corruption by elites and the blind eye of multilateral financial institutions combine to thwart development and ruin investors not part of the game.
I am a Portuguese national who was attracted to Africa as a young man. For more than 20 years beginning in the 1970s, I invested in a number of small businesses in sub-Saharan Africa. I had the good fortune to enjoy some success, and over time I accumulated a bit of capital, along with what I believe was a reputation for honest hard work. During the Angolan civil war, I was invited by leaders of the MPLA to invest in needed commercial services in Angola. I was excited by the possibilities of an independent Angola, and perhaps subconsciously, I wanted to atone for the many faults of the colonial administration. Beginning in the late 1980s I invested about $4 million, all of my capital, in contracts offered to me by the governing authorities.
These projects were going reasonably well, too well, perhaps, when suddenly in 1991, all of my investments were expropriated by a high MPLA official. My local business partner was murdered (referred to below – OHCHR Communication N°711/1996), and I fled Angola for my life. While robberies and street crime were common at the time, my case was highly unusual, even for a country in civil war, and it was widely commented on in Angola. The official who acted against me was said to be motivated by jealousy and a perverse anti-colonial nationalism. He enjoyed impunity, of course, and he has never been punished.
Without funds, I could not afford to take advantage of the arbitral remedies contained in my investment contracts. Seeking other remedies to recover my losses, I learned that the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency of the World Bank had established a mediation service to resolve cases such as mine. In 1997, Portugal, at my request and on my behalf, formally requested that MIGA seek to mediate my claim against Angola for compensation. Because most of my financial records in Luanda where taken from me, I limited my claim in mediation to the roughly $3 million that I had invested in the Province of Cabinda.
MIGA worked diligently on the matter. It appeared then that Angola was participating in the discussions in good faith. An agreement in principal was reached in 2000 under which I would be paid $1.5 million for my losses. MIGA was told that the “modalities of payment” were to be worked out with the Ministry of Finance. This never happened. The Ministry refused to discuss the matter with MIGA. MIGA pressed the Ministry, but when the mediator handling the matter retired from the World Bank in 2004, MIGA’s attitude abruptly shifted. Not only did it drop the matter, but it issued political risk insurance coverage to substantial investors in Angola! This is ironic, because Article 12(e)(iv) requires that MIGA be assured that a member state is respectful of investors’ rights (“fair and equitable treatment” of foreign investors and “legal protection”) before issuing coverage in that country. The hypocrisy of the World Bank is painfully disappointing. Had MIGA respected its obligations under its Convention to insist on legal protection for investors in Angola, my settlement payment would have been made the next day.
For a broader and clear view of the case I will make a succinct description of it.
On February 9, 2007 I wrote a letter to Mr. Hartwig Schafer, Vice President for Africa, World Bank, which caught his attention and forwarded it to the Resident Representative of the World Bank in Luanda, Mr. Alberto Chueca Mora, whom brought the subject to the Government of Angola, “Embora tenhamos sido informados que o Governo estava ao corrente da situação e que recomendaria uma solução para si” and “A resolução desta questão poderà estabelecer um grande beneficio para o pais”.
Actually, Alberto Chueca Mora’s intervention with the Minister of Planeamento, Ana Dias Lourenco, who for many years until recently sat on the Board of the World Bank as executive director, confirmed then Minister Dias Lourenco’s belief that the matter would be settled soon, as she herself wrote in a letter addressed to the Principal Counsel of MIGA dated from January 28, 2002 “auguro que a breve trecho o mesmo”.
It is important to stress that this dossier initiated only after the request of the Portuguese Government to MIGA-Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency “Visto sem objecções atendendo ao teor especifico do procedimento sugerido pela MIGA” and “turns to MIGA for assistance, requesting that MIGA use its good offices under Article23(b) (i)” and the Notice of Request for Mediation.
Concerning the elaboration of the Notice of Request for Mediation, you may wish to look at the “contract 3 years Blood Analysis Photofin” and “Blood Test Payment Authorization 1993” and “Analyses Sang Price List Expats” and “CABGOC”. Finally, concerning the letter sent to the then general counsel, Peter Clearly, referred to below, you may wish to read “Towards the end of 1993; after the confiscation of all the keys of the Complex by a government’s delegation” and “After incursions of heavily armed men into the Complex, stilling and destroying… I fled the country for my life” and “Chiloango Complex” (4 photos to zoom).
It would be convenient to add some comments. The dossier was initiated during Luis Dodero, MIGA’s first general counsel and conducted by the Principal Counsel – Lorin Weisenfeld, until their retirement in 2004 and 2005 respectively. They were followed by Peter Cleary and Srilal Perera, in the same order. Suddenly, the regular contacts I had with MIGA, completely stopped. Hence, in November 08, 2005 I sent a letter to Peter Cleary which was never answered. However, Peter Cleary’s request “Do you guys know what this is about? Is this something we have to pursue?”, the following letter dated from November 09, 2005, landed in his desk “Something is out of whack if MIGA spends hours on research regarding a country’s international law comportment — and then turns a blind eye to bad behavior of which we have direct and personal knowledge”. Nonetheless, I managed to establish sometime later, a cordial and professional relationship with Srilal Perera, which regretfully was short lived. Frustrated “We share your frustration… given the huge amounts of lending Government is getting left and right, our leverage capacity has been fading”, Srilal Perera advised on how to proceed with the dossier “We have a new President at the World Bank and maybe you should copy him as well, Mr. Nuna Pinto and the Vice President for the Africa region ”, which was from then on and up until 2015 handled by Nuno Mota Pinto – World Bank´s Alternate Executive Director.
So from March 2007 up until April 2012, I kept a cordial, friendly and professional relationship with Nuno Mota Pinto. Still today, I can’t understand why Nuno Mota Pinto stopped answering my calls and respond to e-mails in 2012. However, paradoxically, Nuno Mota Pinto kept following and actively intervening in the dossier up until 2015. Among his several interventions this particularly one: “The process, its outcome, the Angolan Government recognition and the settlement were crystal clear. The only thing missing is the political will to pay the settled amount to Mr. Dias”. Soon after, following this letter where he also wrote: “a matter that has been around for some time and that needs some high level pressure to be resolved between the World Bank Group and Angola”, one letter dated from June 8, 2009, signed by Obiageli Katryn Ezekwesili, World Bank’s Vice President of Africa, was addressed to His Excellency, José Eduardo dos Santos, President of the Republic of Angola: “As you can appreciate, after more than a decade the settlement payment that you ordered in favor of Mr. Carlos Dias has not materialized”. Sadly, this letter is still unanswered, hélas.
Thus, Mrs. Ana Dias Lourenço, Minister of Planeamento, who wrote in January 28, 2002 “auguro que a breve trecho o mesmo…” and “orally advised the acting resident representative of the World Bank in Luanda and the principal counsel for Angola at MIGA in 2000… that the President of the Republic had decided to order settlement of the matter” is the same Mrs. Ana Dias Lourenço, who, when she subsequently sat as executive director for Angola at the World Bank, told the Portuguese alternative executive director, Mr. Mota Pinto, in January 2014 “MIGA no longer cares about the Dias claim. It approved a major project for Angola last year without ever raising the subject of Carlos Dias.” On the same occasion, Mrs. Ana Dias Lourenço also asserted, falsely, “There is nothing to talk about. The matter is settled” “Payment was made”.
Sadly, Mrs. Ana Dias Lourenço was correct when she said that “MIGA no longer cares about the Dias claim”. The project in Angola to which she referred was the Odebrecht investment in the Cambambe hydroelectric project, for which MIGA issued $512 million in coverage. To add insult to injury, the then Vice President and COO of MIGA, Michel Wormser, visited Luanda in November 2013. The press release issued in connection with his visit said that his objective was “to identify areas where MIGA can assist in supporting the country’s growth and development.” All of this in total disregard of MIGA’s obligation under Article 12(e)(iv) of its Convention to satisfy itself that Angola affords foreign investors “fair and equal treatment” and “legal protection” for their investment MIGA willingly turned a blind eye to the failure of Angola to resolve my claim. Its left hand did not want to know what its right hand had been doing for more than a decade, and MIGA undermined my ability to obtain the settlement for me previously agreed to.
The Ana Dias Lourenco who behaved so cavalierly in 2013 is now the First Lady of the Republic, since her husband became president of Angola in 2017. She is in Luanda now. I presume that if requested to opine about the dossier, she will give the same answer she gave (June 23, 2015), to the Advisor to the Executive Director For Angola, Nigeria and South Africa, Dr. Domingos Pedro: “Ms. Ana Dias says she did her part and the full dossier is in the Ministry of Finance, who was supposed to bring the case to an end”. Also in Luanda is Olivier Lambert, recently appointed the World Bank Representative. Actually, Olivier Lambert already handled the dossier “What are the implications for MIGA’s future’s involvement in ANGOLA? … You have asked the key question: if a member state fails in its international law obligations to foreign investors…”.
Finally, I emphasize that actually I have not one, but two ongoing cases at the UN Organization, both pending settlement for about twenty years now, hélas.
- OHCHR – Communication N° 711/1996: ANGOLA. 18.04/2000 – CCPR/C/68/D/711/1996
(“Under article 2, paragraph 3(a), of the Covenant, the State party is under the obligation to provide Mr. Dias with an effective remedy and to take adequate measures to protect….“).
I emphasize that I was the company’s manager responsible for blood tests analyses operations at the UN Luanda’s medical clinic. (Letter from Dr. Claude Prost to Otto B. Essien, Représentant Resident du PNUD).
- MIGA-Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency and the World Bank – Notice of Request for Mediation – May 8, 1997
(…after having taken the matter to the President of the Republic on various occasions, he had decided to order settlement of the matter in question in the amount of one million five hundred thousand United States Dollars (U.S. $1,500,000), the sum previously agreed to between the Government of Angola and MIGA…).
Angola failed to fulfill its commitment to compensate me, as agreed, for the expropriation to which I was subjected, and then the World Bank jeopardized my claim when MIGA failed to apply the principles of its Convention in seeking to do business in Angola.
As I slip into old age, I have continued to pursue the settlement payment to which I am entitled. Angola continues to rebuff any effort to discuss the matter, and MIGA, adding insult to my injury, has no interest either in the subject. I feel that I have been violated twice.
In advance, I thank you very much for any gesture you may kindly undertake in order to call for the good sense of the World Bank, MIGA and Angola, and that this case is finally settled.
I remain at your disposal.
With deep thanks, I assure you of my appreciation for your kind assistance.