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Angola's Lourenco vows to recover stolen funds hidden abroad

Angola's Lourenco vows to recover stolen funds hidden abroad


Angolan president Joao Lourenco on Friday told visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel that his reformist government was working to recover funds stolen from public coffers and stashed abroad.

Last month, Angola indicted Isabel dos Santos, the 46-year-old billionaire daughter of ex-president Jose Eduardo dos Santos, for a host of top-level financial crimes, including money laundering and influence peddling.

“With the support of everyone, civil society and specialised international institutions, we are implementing initiatives to combat money laundering, as well as to recover assets that have been set up with public resources… (or) been illegally transferred… outside the country,” he said.

He said his government was determined to fight corruption in the graft-tainted oil-rich country.

“We are deepening the foundations of the rule of law, where there is no impunity for acts of corruption and for practices of nepotism and influence peddling,” he said in an address during Merkel’s one-day visit to the country.

Dos Santos built up a vast business empire over the past two decades, with stakes in several Angolan and Portuguese companies.

Her fortune is valued at $2.1 billion by Forbes Magazine, which named her Africa’s richest woman in 2013.

Angola’s prosecutors have accused dos Santos of mismanagement and embezzlement of funds during her tenure at Sonangol, Angola’s state-owned oil giant which she once headed during her father’s rule.

She was forced out of the job months after her father stepped down in 2017 and was replaced by his hand-picked successor, Lourenco.

A consortium of investigative journalists, after analysing a trove of hundreds of thousands of leaked documents, has also accused dos Santos of looting state coffers during her father’s nearly four-decade rule.

Dos Santos has denied any wrongdoing and says she is a victim of a witch hunt.

Merkel visited South Africa and Angola to talks to boost trade and business ties between Germany and the two African countries.

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