Angola: ‘$24 billion lost under Dos Santos’ says President Lourenço

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Angolan President Joao Laurenco

ANGOLA’S President, Joao Lourenço continues to go after former president José Eduardo Dos Santos.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Lourenco estimated that the country lost up to $24bn under the former administration of president José Eduardo dos Santos.

According to the president, more than half of the figure – $13.5bn – were diverted through fraudulent contracts with state oil company Sonangol, one of Angola’s leading institutions.

It’s twice the country’s net foreign currency reserves.

The Wall Street Journal noted that the figure revealed by João Lourenço was not independently confirmed, but is ‘consistent with the substantial sums’ already seized last year from Isabel and Filomeno dos Santos, the former president’s children.

Since José Eduardo dos Santos stepped down after 37 years as the head of state, Dos Santos’ family, and particularly former Sanangol president Isabel Dos Santos, has been targeted by the anti-corruption measures Lourenço introduced in 2017.

Isabel Dos Santos, whose assets were seized after being named a suspect in a corruption investigation,  denies any wrongdoing and accused Luanda of persecuting her.

Angolan authorities say they have recovered more than $5bn in stolen assets.

Since he became president in 2017, Lourenco has made fighting corruption one of his priorities, investigating and prosecuting his predecessor’s family members for corruption and nepotism.

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