* Angola announced $5 bln sovereign wealth fund in October
* Opposition said fund should have had parliament's approval
* Court says president's decree did not overstep powers
LISBON, Feb 8 Angola's constitutional court on
Friday rejected a claim by an opposition party that President
Jose Eduardo dos Santos had overstepped his powers to create the
country's $5 billion sovereign wealth fund.
Angola launched the fund last October to invest in domestic
and overseas assets by funnelling the country's vast oil wealth
into infrastructure, hotels and other high-growth projects.
Dos Santos has been accused of avoiding public scrutiny
during his 33 years in power. The announcement of the fund
raised criticism from opposition groups about transparency as it
did not give parliament any oversight and appointed one of the
president's sons to the fund's management board.
Opposition party CASA-CE in December asked the
constitutional court to overturn the creation of the fund,
arguing that the constitution did not allow a president to
create reserve funds by decree without the approval of
The court, however, ruled in favour of the president's
argument that the creation of a "special financial reserve oil
fund for infrastructure" had been approved in parliament as part
of the 2011 budget bill.
According to the court, the constitution gave the president
powers to manage the reserve fund, which included setting up an
"Oil Fund" through a decree in March 2011. The oil fund was
converted into the sovereign wealth fund last October.
"It was concluded that the president, in creating the Oil
Fund, obeyed the legal-constitutional principle of the
separation of powers and did not infringe on the rights of
parliament," the court said in its ruling.
Dos Santos last year led his MPLA party to a landslide win
in an election, securing 72 percent of the votes.