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Celeste de Brito denies having forged vice president's signature

Thu, 31 Jan 2019 11:51 - Updated Thu, 31 Jan 2019 11:51

Palácio da Justiça Photo: Arquivo

Luanda - The defendant Celeste de Brito, the first out of four Angolan citizens to be interrogated in the case ?Thai Swindle? denies having forged the signature of Angola?s vice president, Bornito de Sousa, to enable the entrance of four Thai citizens to invest in the country.

The said document led the Public Prosecution (MP) to charge the 46-year businesswoman over crimes of counterfeit documents besides defraud, wrongdoers’ association and money laundering.

According to the MP, by forging the signature of the Angolan vice-president, Celeste de Brito intended to facilitate illegal immigration of the Thai citizens, the owners of the Centennial Energy Company, Limited, allegedly to invest USD 50 billion in social projects.

In the meantime, during the interrogation session, the defendant said she just leant about the document after being pushed away from the negotiations by high ranking officers of the Angolan Armed Forces (FAA) and representatives of the then Technical Unit for Private investments (UTIP).  

By this time, she said, had been notified by the Criminal Investigation Services (SIC) to confirm the authenticity of the said document.   

The defendant, who is also an international financial consultant, said she was under pressure from the Thai citizens, since they sought to have an audience with president.

However, added the defendant, since they did not fill up the established requirements for international cooperation, she decided not take them to meet with Angolan president, although, she had an agreement signed with President’s Civil House, which enables her to do so.

As regard to the authenticity of the cheque, which is the key element of the trial, the defendant said it lacks recognition.  

Besides Celeste de Brito, other three Angolans are also implicated in this case namely Norberto Garcia, ex- UTIP’s director, Arsénio Manuel, manager of FAA’s Ondjango Yetu Project and Cristinian Lemos former police officer, along with four Thai citizens, one canadian an Eritrean.