• Saturday, June 22, 2024
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Angola jails former Central Bank head, ex-leader’s son for fraud

José Eduardo dos Santos

A court in Luanda sentenced the son of former Angolan president Eduardo Dos Santos to five years in prison over a $500 million corruption case, the Portuguese news agency Lusa reported on Friday.

Three co-defendants were also accused of fraud, embezzlement and influence peddling – including the former governor of the national bank of Angola (BNA) Valter Filipe da Silva.

Jose Filomeno de dos Santos, the former head of Angola’s $5 billion sovereign wealth fund, was found guilty, along with three other defendants, of transferring the money to a Credit Suisse account in London.

Their trial has been the most high profile case to date under the anti-corruption drive of hand picked President Joao Lourenco, who took the helm after dos Santos stepped down in 2017 after a near four-decade grip of power in Africa’s second-biggest oil exporter.

Judge Joao Pitra found Dos Santos – nicknamed “Zenu” – guilty of fraud, embezzlement and influence trafficking, Lusa said. Valter Filipe, former governor of the National Bank of Angola, was sentenced to eight years in the case.

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All were acquitted of money laundering, Lusa said.

Former president Dos Santos who is believed to have fled the country, appointed close allies and kin to key positions but his successor, also a member of the ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) party, has rooted out some of his loyalists and initiated anti-corruption trials against senior members of the former regime.

President Lourenço fired another of his predecessor’s children, Isabel dos Santos, believed to be Africa’s richest woman, from her position as head of the state oil giant Sonango in November 2017 over alleged embezzlement.

Ms Dos Santos denies any wrongdoing. She now lives abroad after saying that her life had been threatened.

The former president is also believed to have left the country.