The Criminal Investigation Service of Angola announced today the arrest of a man, belonging to a criminal network, who worked with the Portuguese and Brazilian embassies in Luanda, promising visas in exchange for money.
The 34-year-old man was arrested on Tuesday, and is suspected of being part of a group of people who remain in the vicinity of the embassies of these countries, in search of citizens seeking visas, promising to obtain one in exchange for 600 thousand kwanzas (1,388 euros).
The citizen in question would hand over the victims’ passports and part of the extorted money (400,000 kwanzas or 925 euros) to another member of the network, who allegedly had contacts with alleged embassy officials and who managed to obtain a visa without complying with the legal procedures.
According to the SIC statement, once the visa was granted, in an irregular manner, the suspect conditioned the delivery of passports to the victims, upon payment of 200,000 kwanzas (463 euros).
The police found at the suspect’s house eleven national passports, 62 receipts for the issuance and re-issuance of national passports, twenty passport photographs of allegedly nationals, four international vaccination cards and several bank statements issued in the name of various citizens, that were seized.
The man will be present in court for procedural procedures, while the investigation continues to determine others involved in the network, adds the SIC, appealing to citizens to use the appropriate channels for obtaining visas to prevent this type of crime.
Last Friday, the weekly Novo Jornal reported difficulties in responding to visa applications, with the Portuguese consulate in Luanda denouncing abusive online bookings by travel agencies or clandestine intermediaries, who appropriate the vacancies and then sell them.
Appointments are made on the platform of the company VFS Global, hired by the Portuguese Government to handle the scheduling and acceptance of online visa application applications, while the award of visa applications is made by the consulate.
On March 14, the Portuguese Government again accepted applications for a Schengen visa for Portugal, which had been suspended for two years and are intended for those who intend to visit the country for a period of less than 90 days for tourism or family visit.
Last April, according to the Portuguese consul in Luanda, Cláudia Boesch, more than 1,400 visas were granted in Angola, of which more than 1,200 were short-term.
The Consulate General of Portugal in Luanda represents, for visa purposes, eight more countries (Austria, Slovakia, Greece, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Sweden, Norway and Denmark).