News on Sunday

Alvaro Sobrinho interrogated by ICAC

Alvaro Sobrinho has been interrogated by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) since last Friday. The ICAC interrogators are interested to know how he ended up in Mauritius to launch his business, about the several investments he made in the country including the access which was granted to him to the VIP Lounge at Plaisance airport. 

Landing in Mauritius on Thursday 23rd August, the controversial Angolan billionaire introduced himself under one of his first names, namely Alvaro de Oliveira Madaleno Sobrinho, in order to go through immigration without being noticed. However, officers recognised him and informed the ICAC about his presence in the country. The latter was indeed intercepted at Balaclava on Friday morning by the ICAC officers. Searches were carried out in his companies which are located in several regions of the island. He presented himself at the ICAC headquarters in Reduit on the same day accompanied by his lawyer Mooloo Gujadhur. 

Alvaro Sobrinho was interrogated ‘under warning’ for nearly seven hours. He was asked about his connection with Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, the former President of the Republic as well as Dass Appadu, former secretary of the latter. He was also queried about requests he made to the former Board of Investment (BOI) for the purchase of villas in Royal Park. He was subject of a ‘Report on Departure’, after his interrogation. On Saturday 25th August, Alvaro returned to ICAC. According to sources, he collaborated with the investigators and revealed the various steps he took to carry out his investments in Mauritius. 

The Angolan businessman also presented himself at the ICAC on Monday where he was interrogated about the Platinum card given to the former President of the Republic, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, when she held the position of deputy director of the organisation Planet Earth Institute. Since his arrival, he has been under strict surveillance by the local authorities. After hearing that he might leave the island as air tickets were booked on his name, the authorities deployed great means at strategic locations, namely the airport. 

On Tuesday 28th August, Alvaro Sobrinho was interrogated about the source of the funds used to reimburse the money spent on the Platinum card. On the same day, Bernard Maigrot, broker at Royal Park Ltd, was interrogated about Alvaro Sobrinho's investments at Royal Park in Balaclava in the presence of his lawyer Gavin Glover. He explained how he first met with the businessman and confirmed the selling of villas to Mr Sobrinho. 

Alvaro Sobrinho showed up for the fifth time at the ICAC premises on Wednesday. He provided details about his funding and revealed the name of his ‘contact point’ in Mauritius. On the same day, the President of Royal Park Sydney Bathfield was questioned by ICAC officers. On Thursday, while leaving the ICAC premises, the Angolan businessman declared to the press that he had nothing to say. 

The director of the ICAC, questioned by journalists on Monday at a workshop on the effectiveness of anti-corruption agencies, declared that the Alvaro Sobrinho investigation will take months, if not years. Navin Beekarry stated that the investigation of the Angolan businesses is a difficult one because of many factors, including language barrier because Sobrinho speaks Portuguese.