If you’ve ever googled who the richest woman in Africa is, then Isabel dos Santos is no new name. The billionaire daughter of ex-President José Eduardo dos Santos of Angola has an estimated net worth of $2.2 billion.
Ms. Dos Santos gained a high public profile in 2016, when her father controversially appointed her as the head of Angola’s state-owned oil firm Sonangol. She was sacked from the post in 2017 by Mr. Lourenço, her father’s handpicked successor, who many believe is taking a tougher line against the former first family.
A very recent court order under the administration of President Joao Lourenço has ordered the freezing of her bank accounts and the seizure of her stake in local companies, including telecoms giant Unitel and bank Fomento de Angola (BFA), the state-owned news agency reported. Angola is looking to reclaim $1 billion that Isabel dos Santos and her associate Mario da Silva, chairman of Banco de Fomento Angola (BFA) allegedly owe.
The order said the central bank would ensure that no funds leave the personal bank accounts of the three accused. Princess, as she is nicknamed has denied allegations of financial irregularities on Tuesday, calling the claims “politically motivated”.
The allegations are riddled with “obvious lies, errors and omissions”, she said.
The former president’s son and half-brother to Isabel, Jose Filomeno dos Santos, 41, went on trial in early December for alleged grand corruption of $1.5 billion from Angola’s sovereign wealth fund during his 2013-2018 stewardship. Now the family accuses Lourenco’s government of persecution.
DW adds that the court will be looking into inconsistencies involving state-run companies including oil company Sonangol and diamond-marketing firm Sodiam. “The state through its companies…transferred enormous quantities of foreign currency to companies abroad whose beneficiaries are the defendants, without receiving the agreed return,” the court order states. “The defendants recognize the existence of the debt but allege that they do not have the means to pay.”
Despite extensive oil, gas and mineral reserves, the majority of Angolans live in poverty and continue to rely on subsistence agriculture.
More details coming..