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Entrepreneur who heads Innovation Prize for Africa jailed, event postponed

Swiss Angolan entrepreneur Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais — the founder of the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) — has been jailed in Angola and the organisation’s annual prize-giving event — which was due to be held next month in Rwanda — has been postponed.

The (IPA) is an annual competition which honours leading entrepreneurs and innovators on the continent and is run by the African Innovation Foundation.

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A Bloomberg report on Monday said Angola’s state prosecutor arrested and jailed Bastos de Morais (pictured above) alongside Jose Filomeno dos Santos, the son of former Angolan president Jose Eduardo dos Santos, over the alleged illegal transfer of $500-million in state funds to an HSBC Holdings account in the UK.

The founder of the Innovation Prize for Africa was been jailed in Angola on Monday and the annual prize-giving event has been postponed

Both have been placed under preventative detention (see the below press statement — in Portuguese — and issued by Angola’s prosecutor general on Monday — a screenshot of which was take from Twitter today).

report by Voa Portugues, noted that Bastos de Morais is being held in a jail in Viana, Luanda.

Turtle Management’s Mitchell Prather — a PR representative for Bastos de Morais’s company Quantum Global — told Ventureburn this morning that the event which was due to be held on 11 and 12 October in Kigali, Rwanda has been postponed and that he would be releasing a more “informed” statement on behalf of Quantum Global later today*.

Speaking from London, Prather said the decision to postpone the event was made a while back. The decision, he said, was taken after Bastos de Morais’s passports were seized by Angolan authorities in early June.

“The IPA is still moving forward but the event has been postponed until further notice,” Prather added.

In January Bastos de Morais told Ventureburn that he had not received any donation from Angola’s sovereign wealth fund which his company manages. It came after Angolan President João Lourenço sacked former president Eduardo dos Santos’s son José Filomeno dos Santos as head of the sovereign wealth fund.

He said the IPA is fully covered by donations from himself and other partners including host countries and private sector sponsors.

However, his media team said while the IPA itself does not receive any donation from Angola’s sovereign wealth fund, the African Innovation Fund does work in collaboration with the fund to implement social projects in Angola through the Social Impact Program for Angola (SIPA).

Read more: ‘Entrepreneur prize not bankrolled by Angolan sovereign wealth fund’
Read more:  AIF announces 10 nominees of the 2018 Innovation Prize for Africa awards
Read more: African Innovation Foundation announces that Rwanda will host this year’s IPA

*Editor’s note (10 December 2018): A copy of the subsequent statement released by Quantum Global on 1 October 2018, is available here.

Featured image: Innovation Prize for Africa founder Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais (Supplied)

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