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Update: On January 17 2012, the government of Angola acknowledged the discrepancy in public accounts. In a statement issued through state media, the government emphatically denied that any funds were "missing" and said that, although its investigation continues, it believes the discrepancy "results mainly from insufficient record[s] of the uses of oil revenues." It also said, as Human Rights Watch has previously reported, that the discrepancy came to light due to improved government monitoring.

(Washington, DC) – The government of Angola should publicly disclose its efforts to trace tens of billions of dollars in missing public funds apparently connected to the state oil company, Sonangol, Human Rights Watch said today in an open letter to the country’s finance minister.

In December 2011, the International Monetary Fund reported that there was an unexplained US$32 billion discrepancy in the Angolan government’s accounts from 2007 through 2010.

“The Angolan government can’t account for tens of billions of dollars in public funds, and it needs to explain what happened to that money,” said Arvind Ganesan, business and human rights director at Human Rights Watch. “The people of Angola have a right to know.”

The Human Rights Watch letter follows a news release issued on December 20. Despite media inquiries in recent weeks, the Angolan government has declined to comment on the matter.

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