(Ecofin Agency) - The Angolan government says the assets "embezzled" under former President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos include real estate, company shares, cars, and hard cash.
Angola is considering setting a special fund to manage about $15 billion in assets recovered by the state as part of an anti-corruption drive, Finance Minister Vera Daves de Sousa (photo) announced Tuesday, March 7.
"The government is exploring options for the management of assets recovered by the state during an anti-corruption drive. One of the options considered is the creation of a dedicated investment fund," she said in an interview with local private radio Luanda Antena Comercial (LAC).
The minister said that the assets, which are currently under judicial control, include real estate, company shares, cars, and hard cash.
In January 2023, Eduarda Rodrigues, director of the National Asset Recovery Service (SENRA), announced that the government recovered over $5 billion in embezzled assets in and outside the country. Ms. Rodrigues also said the country was still awaiting court rulings to recover $21 billion in misappropriated assets in and out of Angola. In February 2022, the government announced the recovery of more than $10 billion following final court rulings in corruption cases.
Since 2017, when he assumed office, Angolan President João Lourenço is implementing an anti-corruption campaign to recover assets ill-gotten during the long presidency (1979-2017) of his predecessor, José Eduardo Dos Santos. As part of this effort, authorities have launched 715 criminal prosecutions for corruption, fraud, embezzlement, and other financial crimes.
José Eduardo dos Santos, who died in July 2022 at the age of 79, is accused of largely diverting national resources to his family and friends. His son, José Filomeno dos Santos, was sentenced in 2020 to five years in prison for embezzling up to $1.5 billion when he was heading the Angolan sovereign wealth fund.
In late December 2022, Angola's Supreme Court ordered the "preventive" seizure of assets held by Isabel dos Santos, the former president's eldest daughter, who is caught in a wide-ranging investigation into corruption and misappropriation of public funds.
According to the SENRA’s calculations, members of the dos Santos family, former government officials, and ex-managers of state-owned companies illegally transferred some $150 billion abroad between 2001 and 2017.