Isabel Dos Santos allegedly plundered millions
Angola wants Isabel Dos Santos to come back home and answer for her crimes. Dos Santos, daughter of former Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos who served from 1979 to 2017, is currently under scrutiny for having allegedly siphoned hundreds of millions of dollars of public money into offshore accounts, according to leaked documents.
The alleged crime was uncovered by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which collaborated with more than 120 journalists in 20 countries to comb through a trove of more than 700,000 leaked emails, contracts and other documents—collectively known as the Luanda Leaks—related to the sprawling business empire of Isabel dos Santos.
The leaked documents reveal how dos Santos siphoned hundreds of millions of dollars in public money out of Angola. Forbes named dos Santos Africa’s first female billionaire in 2013.
Santos, who was born in Azerbaijan and educated in Kent and London, is said to have had access to deals involving diamonds, oil and telecoms when her father was President. She was at the helm of Angola’s national oil company Sonangol until current President, Joao Lourenco, forced her out in 2017.
The allegations came one month after Angola’s prosecutors froze Ms. Dos Santos’ bank accounts and assets.
The 46 year old socialite and her 47 year old Congolese husband Sindika Dokolo, allegedly steered payments of more than $1billion (£800,000) from state companies Sonangol and Sodiam to firms in which they held stakes.
The documents also show how Western consultants and accountants from many of the world’s biggest professional services companies wittingly or unwittingly helped dos Santos, even after allegations of corruption became public and the more tightly regulated banking industry walked away. Angola is a country with one of the world’s highest poverty rates so for their public coffers to be pilfered, De Santos has left Angola in a dire situation.
It is for this reason that Angola is appealing to European countries to help with the extradition process. De Santos left Angola after her father who ruled the country for 40 years stepped down in 2017.
She took to social media to dismiss the claims. “My fortune is built on my character, my intelligence, education, capacity for work, and perseverance,” her twitter read.
She further wrote that the ICIJ report is based on many fake documents and false information done in cahoots with the Angolan Government.
It is alleged that Dos Santos has properties in London and is said to spend a substantial amount of time in the UK. Angola’s minister of Economic and Social Development Manuel Nunes Junior is quoted as saying, “ we need to have a true rule of law in Angola. We believe that the rule of law is the essential element for the confidence of agents in the society in which we operate. And no one is above the law.”
Portuguese bank EuroBic announced it would end its business relationship with Dos Santos. And other European countries are urged to act with the same vigor and help Angola as they seek justice.
Dos Santos father, Jose Eduardo dos Santos is currently living in Spain. It is heart breaking to see how European countries turn a blind eye and accept to hold money from Africa without really investigating. The same lethargy is not applied in cases of African who try to migrate to Europe. However, when it comes to accepting money and investment from obviously dubious channels a double standard seems to be applied.
The European countries should act swiftly in helping the Angolan government bring Dos Santos to justice. This action can serve as an example to any other African leader or person of authority who thinks they can plunder their country and go live it up in Europe.