Isabel dos Santos, Africa’s richest woman, has ‘illegally’ transferred more than US$135 million belonging to state oil company Sonangol to her four private companies using the Portuguese bank Banco BIC, Maka Angola reported early this week.
Dos Santos, the eldest daughter of former President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, was Sonangol board chairperson for 18 months before being sacked on November 15 by newly elected President Joao Lourenco.
No reasons were ever given for her sacking.
Maka Angola claimed that the day she was fired, dos Santos signed the payment order of US$60 million – believed to be the last chunk of the stolen money – in favour of Matter Business Solutions DMCC, a company based in Dubai.
The news report added: “However, this payment order arrived at Banco BIC Portugal the following day, 16 November. But the bank expressed reservations about making the transfer since dos Santos had already been dismissed. The bank’s management then suggested the retroactive signature of the payment order for November 14, and so proceeded with the transfer.
“To that end, the payment order was signed by dos Santos and the then financial administrator Sarju Raikundala, without having fulfilled the financial procedures in progress at Sonangol, and there was no document processing.”
The billionaire’s private companies that benefited from the US$135 million pot of Sonangol include Ucall, which is charge of human resources counseling and psycho-technical tests and talent identification, according to the new report.
The news site also claimed that under the management of dos Santos, Sonangol opened an account with Banco BIC in Portugal, of which it is the main shareholder holding 42.5%, corresponding to more than US$100 million.
However, dos Santos issued a statement, denying these reports and describing it as fake news.
It remains to be seen if the billionaire will take legal action against Maka Angola. “We challenge her to take legal action to prove her innocence,” Maka Angola said.
Maka Angola, a fearless news site and corruption watchdog, is owned and edited by Rafael Marques, who was arrested and imprisoned several times.
Dos Santos is the continent’s richest woman whose fortune is valued at US$3.5 billion. Angola is one of Africa’s most corrupt countries and despite a top oil producer the majority of its people live in poverty without inadequate housing, clean water and electricity, and healthcare facilities.
Dos Santos, the billionaire’s father, ruled the country with iron-fist for 38 years before giving up in 2017.
Watch this space.
Photo: Isabel dos Santos, Africa’s richest woman, stands accused of ‘stealing’ money.