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Things Fall Apart for Angola's dos Santos family


<p><strong>Angola’s president Joao Lourenco who took office in 2017 has systematically embarked on a mission to take down a patronage network that was championed by his predecessor Jose Eduardo dos Santos.</strong></p> <p>During dos Santos’ 38-year rule from 1979, his offspring occupied top positions in the government and in lucrative sectors ranging from banking, telecoms and media to oil.</p> <p>Today, law enforcement agencies are cracking down on the high profile family of former Angolan president, accused of plundering revenues from the country’s vast oil wealth.</p> <p>In this article, we highlight the purge of the dos Santos administration as well as public companies, targeting relatives who have benefitted from nepotism.</p> <h2 style="font-size:16px;">Isabel: ‘Africa’s richest woman’</h2> <p>Scornfully dubbed ‘the princess’ by Angolans, the 46-year-old is dos Santos’s eldest daughter and the public face of the family empire.</p> <p>Dubbed Africa’s richest woman by US magazine Forbes with a fortune estimated at $2.2 billion, Isabel dos Santos headed national oil company Sonangol but was forced out by her father’s successor shortly after he came to power.</p> <p>Last month, an Angolan court ordered a freeze on her bank accounts and assets.</p> <p>Isabel dos Santos and her Congolese husband, Sindika Dokolo, are suspected of having embezzled a billion dollars from the public firms Sonangol (oil) and Sodiam (diamonds).</p> <p>She has denied any wrongdoing, calling the accusations “lies,” “fake news” and “politically motivated.”</p> <p>Isabel has amassed billions and owns stakes in Banco de Formento Angola, the country’s leading private bank, drinks distributor Sodiba and construction material producer Cimangola.</p> <p>This week, Isabel said she would do everything to defend and serve her country, including a possible run for presidency.</p> <a style="font-size:16px; font-color:yellow;" href="https://www.africanews.com/2020/01/16/to-defend-serve-africa-s-richest-woman-could-run-for-angola-presidency/"target="_blank"><span class="caps">READ</span> <span class="caps">MORE</span>: Africa’s richest woman could run for Angola presidency</a> <h2 style="font-size:16px;">Jose Filomeno: the indicted son</h2> <p>Jose Filomeno dos Santos, 41, also known as “Zenu” has become the first member of the dos Santos clan to be prosecuted.</p> <p>Currently on <a href="https://www.africanews.com/2019/12/10/son-of-ex-angolan-president-in-court-over-corruption-trial/"target="_blank">trial</a> with three others including former central bank governor Valter Filipe da Silva, he is accused of allegedly stealing $1.5 billion from Angola’s $5 billion sovereign wealth fund which he headed from 2013 when his father was in power.</p> <p>Filomeno dos Santos was fired from the fund manager post in 2017 by President Lourenco.</p> <p>He was later placed in pre-trial detention in September 2018 and was released six months later pending his trial, which opened last month in the capital Luanda.</p> <p>He faces a maximum prison sentence of 12 years, if convicted. He has denied all charges of money laundering and embezzlement.</p> <h2 style="font-size:16px;">Tchize: the media magnate</h2> <p>An influential figure in the Angolan media, 42-year-old Welwitschia is dos Santos’s second daughter and half-sister of Isabel.</p> <p>Popularly known as ‘Tchize’, she has controlled one of Angola’s leading multimedia and advertising agencies.</p> <p>Much like most of the dos Santos family, Welwitschia dos Santos has moved abroad, claiming threats from the Angola secret service.</p> <p>She was recently suspended from parliament, where she served from 2008, after lawmakers voted that her extended absence amounted to unjust enrichment.</p> <h2 style="font-size:16px;">Ana Paula: the businesswoman wife</h2> <p>The former air hostess was Angola’s first lady for 26 years from 1991. She and the ex-president have three children together.</p> <p>The businesswoman owns a stake in a number of companies in Luanda, including a private airline.</p> <a style="font-size:16px; font-color:yellow;" href="https://www.africanews.com/2020/01/02/when-successors-rebel-against-their-mentors-mauritania-angola-botswana/"target="_blank"><span class="caps">ALSO</span> <span class="caps">READ</span>: When successors rebel against their mentors: Mauritania, Angola, Botswana</a> <p><strong><em><span class="caps">AFP</span></em></strong></p>
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