Angolan President Lourenco says there will be no negotiations with Isabel dos Santos.
A major topic of contention during the 2017 campaign period was corruption. A task president Joao Lourenco has vowed to deal with judiciously. The economy and graft are intertwined and none can do well without addressing the other.
Africa’s richest woman, Isabel dos Santos has been under scrutiny for having used her fathers’ influence to amass staggering amounts of wealth. Her father was the late Angolan president, José Eduardo dos Santo, who ruled Angola from 1979 to 2017. The 38-year old ruler has been accused of endowing his family with wealth derived from state coffers of the oil-rich nation. Luanda Leaks exposed how Isabel dos Santos, daughter to the former president accumulated billions of dollars through dubious deals.
In late December, the Angolan government froze her assets, following claims by prosecutors that she and her husband embezzled over a billion dollars from state companies Sodiam and Sonangol. Isabel denies any wrongdoing and even chides the whole process to be foul play and political machinations from adversaries targeting her and her family. The prosecution against her began when the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) gained access to 715,000 leaked files, prompting the attorney general Hélder Pitta Grós to drop charges on money laundering, influence peddling, forgery of documents, harmful management, and other economic crimes.
In an exclusive interview with DW news, the current President shared his thoughts on the scandal. He expressly pointed out that no stone will be left unturned and no one will be exempted from the corruption fight. He said there was a 6-month grace period for those who had engaged in corruption to give back their illegally acquired assets.
Despite some allegations that there is politics involved as Lourenco tries to consolidate his power from the previous President, he has publicly maintained a neutral perspective on the case. Responding to opposition figures who criticize the independence of the judiciary, Lourenco argues that the judiciary today has the freedom to act objectively. He supported his argument by pointing out the high number of corruption cases before the courts today.
Angolan President Joao Lourenco will be awaiting the arrival of Angela Merkel who will on her Southern Africa trip. Relations between the two countries never seemed to take off during the reign of José Eduardo dos Santo, a situation both leaders would like to correct. Positive signs of cooperation can be seen by the desire of Angola to purchase German naval boats. Presently, Germany has not given any confirmation or denial of the transaction, so it is expected to be a topic of discussion.
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Angolan President says there will be no negotiations with dos Santos