Angolan ex-president’s daughter denies graft allegations

The daughter of former Angolan president Jose Eduardo dos Santos has denied allegations of financial irregularities after a court froze her bank accounts, calling the claims “politically motivated”.

Isabel dos Santos has denied allegations of graft, calling them politically motivated
Isabel dos Santos has denied allegations of graft, calling them politically motivated

Isabel dos Santos — nicknamed Africa’s wealthiest woman — is under investigation for alleged irregularities involving state companies including the OPEC nation’s giant state oil company Sonangol.

The allegations are riddled with “obvious lies, errors and omissions”, she said late Tuesday.

“This court decision, which is the outcome of an injunction that was not communicated to the parties, is clearly arbitrary and politically motivated,” she said.

Her father Jose Eduardo dos Santos ruled Angola for 38 years — a time widely associated with corruption and nepotism — until President Joao Lourenco succeeded him in 2017.

Isabel, like most of the dos Santos family, left Angola, claiming she faced death threats after her father stepped down.

She was appointed head of Sonangol in 2016 but was forced out the following year, in one of the first acts undertaken by Lourenco to remove dos Santos relatives from power.

An Angolan court, acting as part of the graft investigation, this month froze bank accounts belonging to dos Santos and her husband Sindika Dokolo.

Their holdings in several Angolan companies, including the telecoms firm Unitel and cement company Cimangola, have also been frozen, the statement said.

The court’s decision also applies to a Portuguese businessman, Mario da Silva.

His family accuses Lourenco’s government of persecution.

The former president’s son, Jose Filomeno dos Santos, 41, who is Isabel dos Santos’s half-brother, went on trial in early December for alleged corruption.

He is accused of embezzling as much as $1.5 billion from Angola’s sovereign wealth fund during his 2013-2018 stewardship.

Despite their country’s extensive oil, gas and mineral wealth, the majority of Angolans live in poverty and continue to rely on subsistence agriculture. AFP