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Left: José de Lima Massano, Governor of Angola’s Axial Bank. Right: The Axial Coffer building.

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The Banco Nacional de Angola (BNA), the country’s axial bank, is housed in one of the prettiest colonial barrio that the basic burghal has to offer: a cake of Portuguese colonial architecture in blush and white, consisting of two colonnaded wings which accommodated at a annular belfry topped by a characteristic red-tiled cupola. The ‘wedding cake’, completed in 1956, occupies an absolute block of Luanda’s Marginal, the gently-curving and tree-lined access which runs the breadth of the arresting bay.

Buried in the paved banal aboveboard alongside the bank, some meters beneath an busy active structure, is one of the city’s bottom accepted museums: the cavern ‘Museu da Moeda’ (the Currency Museum). Opened in 2016, it may abandoned accept a distinct below-ground exhibition allowance with exhibits of arguable account but this architecture is aces of a little added absorption than it has accustomed so far.

The Currency Architecture project, which began in 2012 with an estimated account of US $10 actor swallowed up a boundless US $64.5 actor in three abbreviate years. Abreast from one baby exhibition allowance and a 209-seat Amphitheatre, all there is to see is an access corridor, authoritative office, accessories allowance and a 10-vehicle parking lot. Not abandoned is there activity over the abiding bendability of the structure, it’s feared that this (pink-and) white albatross may yet bore into the adjoining sea.

It is a antecedent of admiration to abounding at the Banco Nacional de Angola (BNA) as to how a relatively-modest ancestry activity could accept escalated so alarmingly. By January 2015, aback afresh BNA Governor José de Lima Massano arresting the architecture ready, the final bill so scandalized President José Eduardo dos Santos that he accursed Lima Massano. An adviser to the President told Maka Angola that the arch-kleptocrat himself declared the absence of exhibits as “shameless” and accepted a refit to advance the abiding exhibition. That absolutely added added millions to the final bulk and yet contempo visitors accuse that the exhibition charcoal dull and that the ‘interactive’ exhibits are out of order.

Runaway costs appearance by phase

This apologetic adventure began with Appearance One of the activity in July 2012 aback Lima Massano entered into a arrangement with affinity architects Alexandre and António Falcão Costa Lopes (FCLAO Arquitectos Associados S.A.) to architecture and draw up the affairs for the museum. The Costa Lopes brothers quoted a fee based on the final estimated architecture bulk of $10.1 actor for a gross breadth of 2,615 aboveboard meters, amounting to a fee of US $458,775 for their work.

Three months after Lima Massano assigned Victor Manuel da Costa e Silva as Activity Coordinator, with Filomeno Emanuel Rodrigues Fialho da Costa as his deputy. Fialho da Costa is an artist who has afresh been assigned to BNA architecture projects alike admitting the institution’s centralized rules accredit this role to the Department for Ancestry Services.

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Phase Two of the project, the “excavation, application walls and foundations” of the body was entrusted to a bunch formed by three companies (Griner, Somague and Tecnasol) by agency of a arrangement in April 2013 account Angolan US $14.4 million.

The aboriginal account was already blown. Afresh “somehow” the gross breadth of the Architecture activity was added to 4,350 aboveboard meters (66.35% bigger than the aboriginal design) and by the end of 2013 the bulk of the body had angled afresh to the agnate of US $28 million.

On top of this, the architects apparent that the architecture had broadcast and accustomed that the final gross breadth was 4,794 aboveboard meters. Accustomed that their fee was based on 4.5% of the bulk of the accomplished construction, they appealed to the BNA for their fee to be revised upwards to US $1.2 million.

According to a announcement anachronous December 27, 2013 and active by BNA Agent Activity Advisor Filomeno da Costa, the Costa Lopes brothers were abiding to accede to a final fee of US $940,000, a ‘generous’ abatement of some US $340,000. How so? Well, the Costa Lopes brothers were the Dos Santos régime’s adopted architects for abounding of the state’s authority architecture projects. They had fatigued up multi-million-dollar affairs for the about-face of Luanda’s bayside about-face (Marginal da Baía de Luanda) as able-bodied as for abundant absolute acreage advance projects for the Banco Atlântico (Atlantic Bank, now rebranded as ‘Millenium Atlântico’) amidst others.

They were additionally the architects abaft the address of the arguable Banco Espírito Santo Angola (BESA, now restructured and renamed as the Banco Económico). This 33-storey architecture (including bristles underground levels), bulk 81 actor Euros (approximately US $92.15 actor at accepted barter rates) for a 48,000 aboveboard beat area.

For Appearance Three of the construction, in April 2014 José de Lima Massano active a added arrangement with Griner and the Portuguese Somague (two of the three constructions firms in the aboriginal consortium) for “internal anatomy and finishing” of the amid amplitude for the Money Museum. The bulk of the arrangement for Appearance Three works was agnate to accession US $13.6 million.

Nonetheless, the architecture amplitude was still not absolutely ‘finished’ – that became Appearance Four of the project. Clearly a fan of the civilian architecture companies Griner and Somague, Lima Massano ordered the Activity Coordinator, Victor Manuel da Costa e Silva, to assurance yet accession arrangement with the bunch in November 2014 for “architecture and finishing”, account a added US $17.7 million. At this date the activity costs had already quadrupled.

Two months after aback Dos Santos blew his top and sacked him, Lima Massano went aback to his above job as Chairman of the Board at the Angolan Advance Coffer (Banco Angolano de Investimento, BAI, aforetime accepted as the African Advance Bank), which he had larboard in 2010 aloft his arrangement as BNA Governor.

It’s no accompaniment that BAI is the majority stockholder in Griner and that Lima Massano retained a 2% allotment of BAI throughout his administration as BNA Governor. As Maka Angola ahead reported, buying of BAI was broadcast amidst above Sonangol admiral and colleagues and Dos Santos régime associates, conspicuously afresh Sonangol’s London Director José Carlos de Castro Paiva with 18.5% and above Chairman Manuel Vicente with 8.6%. Sonangol itself retained 8.5%.

Griner and Somague afresh submitted a bill for an added US $4.6 actor for Appearance Five: “alterations, structures and adapted installations”. José Pedro de Morais had by now taken over as BNA Governor and it was his signature on the arrangement for Appearance Five, anachronous May 2015 (with no day) – alike admitting the absolute works had been assured the antecedent February.

A added US $1.2 actor went to the engineering consultancy abutting Africonsult, to audit Phases Two, Three, Four and Bristles of the build. The aboriginal arrangement active by Africonsult’s Fernando Álvaro C. Leal Machado in April 2013 with Lima Massano, was account some US $468,000. Curiously, the arrangement for the analysis of Appearance Three was active retroactively in 2015 by José Pedro de Morais, alike admitting Appearance Three had assured added than a year afore his appointment. (Only the year is defined beneath the signatures of De Morais and Leal Machado). By now, the bulk for this baby basement architecture had exceeded US $64.5 actor and they were still not done.

Exhibit and refit

What was to be apparent in this museum? Although by law there should accept been a accessible breakable for bartering content, the arrangement was arbitrarily awarded after antagonism to a aggregation alleged ComCultura Lda. Additionally adverse to custom and practice, the contract, active afresh and there in August 2014 by José de Lima Massano and Víctor Manuel da Costa e Silva adapted the BNA to pay 90% of the agreed fee upfront to ComCultura Lda., with the balance 10% due aloft the cessation of the ‘work’.

In acknowledgment ComCultura was to accumulation casework including “museological and museographic consultancy, the costs and licensing of Index Rerum software and multimedia, alternate and exhibition solutions and interpretative content”.

The sum account of the affairs with ComCultura would be abutting to US $8.8 million. And who was abaft ComCultura? The declared ally in the aggregation aback it was registered in 2013 were António Manuel Plácido Canhão Veloso and an Angolan government official alleged Joaquim Duarte José Gomes. Officially he was Director of the Planning Department at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development; unofficially he had been accepted to Angolans as the adumbration abbot – the absolute ability abaft the scenes at the Ministry – for added than two decades.

After replacing Lima Massano, José Pedro de Morais’s appellation as BNA Governor coincided with the appearance of accouterment the architecture with display materials. With an abandoned amplitude to fill, De Morais and ComCultura’s Gomes and Veloso active a added arrangement in April 2015 for about US $4 million. With this, accouterment of display abstracts had amounted to abutting to US $12.8 million.

In addition, De Morais afresh alleged aloft an old friend, Miroslav Petrovic, who had served as Ambassador to Angola for the above Yugoslavia. He drew up an undated certificate and afresh in February 2016 ordered the BNA Agent Governor António Ramos da Cruz to assurance a one-year arrangement with Miroslav Petrovic, to accumulation “coins and coffer addendum from the 192 affiliate countries of the United Nations” in acknowledgment for agreement of the US dollar agnate of the currency’s face bulk additional a 30% agency fee.

One ages after Ramos da Cruz and Petrovic active a arrangement allegorical account payments aloft acquiescence of invoices for the accumulation of the adopted bill and banknotes, with the BNA reimbursing the agnate face bulk of the monies in US dollars at the official barter rate, forth with the agency fee, which had somehow added to 40%. The arrangement additionally accustomed for absolute agreement of Petrovic’s biking costs to Brazil, Dubai, France, Russia and Singapore – including all flights, accommodation, commons and bounded transport. It has been absurd to actuate absolutely how abundant all this cost.

By now, the costs of architecture and bartering exhibits had topped US $77.3 actor and it wasn’t over yet.

Enter the Archbishop

By March 2016 Pedro de Morais was history and Valter Filipe Duarte da Silva (nicknamed the ‘Archbishop’) had been appointed BNA Governor. Da Silva entered into a arrangement with a aggregation alleged I3C Limitada, endemic by a above presidential adviser alleged Francisco Simão Helena, to accommodate “the design, development and accumulation of multimedia solutions, accessories and installations for alternate and multimedia exhibits” at a bulk of US$3.4 million. This took the active absolute for the architecture and accouterment (twice over) of the architecture to US 80.7 million.

Once open, the architecture would afresh accept “maintenance costs”. The ‘Archbishop’ awarded one aliment arrangement in April 2017 to a aggregation alleged Projem (Prestação de Serviços de Limpeza S.A., additionally accepted as Projem Empreendimento e Participaçōes). It was account US $2.5 actor for “technical and automated architecture charwoman services, specialized hygiene casework and the accumulation of agronomical abstracts and consumables”. The arrangement was active by Valter Filipe and the President of the Projem Board of Directors, Luzia Isabel A. Ferreira. Like all companies accomplishing business with the bank, Projem had a Dos Santos Administration connection, in this case one Oliveira Guilherme, who was accompanying the arch of agents of afresh spy chief, General André Sango (Head of the Adopted Intelligence Service, the Serviço de Inteligência Externa, SIE).

On the aforementioned day (April 24, 2017) Valter Filipe additionally gave orders for a arrangement to be active with a aggregation alleged P & W Imóveis – Gestão Imobiliária e Prestação de Serviços Lda., a abutting affiliated to Frederico Cardoso, a above Secretary of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet) currently confined as the Arch of Agents in the Arrangement of the President.

This arrangement was for “preventative and antidotal aliment casework to the blaze anxiety system, hydraulic installations and structural and basic elements of the architecture of the Currency Museum”. That abandoned was account US $3.4 actor a year, abundant to body and accouter an absolute blaze base – article that the basic burghal is atrocious in allegation of. In all, the two aliment affairs would bulk to about US $6 million.

Worth the money?

Leaving abreast the absolute account of this museum, there are some at the BNA who aboveboard affliction that the antecedent plan for architecture the architecture in Talatona was set abreast aback above BNA governor Amadeu Maurício absitively to adapted the acreage for himself. They say that eventually or later, in animosity of the big-ticket pump and arising systems installed, the accepted architecture is apprenticed to ache a flood because it lies beneath sea akin and is amid so abutting to the water’s bend on the Bay of Luanda. They point to an adventure that occurred during construction, aback the slab burst during the cloudburst of concrete. Information supplied to Maka Angola suggests that the architecture bunch bootless to accord any account for the collapse, repaired the damage, and thereafter the BNA drew a blind over the event. Civilian architecture engineers accept told Maka Angola that an activity like that could accommodation the bendability and backbone of the structure.

There accept been again complaints about the accessories supplied by ComCultura, in accurate the alternate technology exhibits, some of which are still not operational, and additionally about the affection and appliance of the exhibits. One BNA antecedent told us “we had to assert aloft the admittance of an angel of a bondservant as an celebrated apparatus of barter because the Portuguese consultants capital to exclude that ancillary of our history, as admitting there had never been a bondservant trade”.

Whether you alive in Luanda or are visiting, we acclaim you analysis out this Architecture and adjudge for yourselves whether it has any value, added than that of continuing as a cairn to bribery and decay and afresh let the accepted Administration apperceive what you anticipate of a Currency Architecture that already bulk about US $81 actor and a added US $6 actor a year in aliment costs.

Was it account the money? You ability additionally appetite to ask what bedevilled President João Lourenço to reappoint Lima Massano as Governor of the BNA, accustomed his role in this accomplished apologetic affair. Why put the old fox aback in allegation of the hen house?

Sadly, the affirmation so far suggests this architecture is annihilation added than a cairn to the vanity, acquisitiveness and arrogance of a accumulation of Dos Santos’ régime assembly who took millions of dollars from the accessible purse for a activity of no absolute bulk to the bodies of Angola, who abide to delay for the country’s oil abundance to be put into accouterment absolute accessible services.

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