Son of Angola’s ex-president sacked from national investment fund

Angolan President Joao Lourenco removed the son of his predecessor Jose Eduardo dos Santos from the top job at the oil-rich country’s sovereign wealth fund, the presidency said on Wednesday.

Jose Filomeno dos Santos, who was implicated in the “Panama Papers” offshore scandal, will be replaced by former finance minister Carlos Alberto Lopes.

Last year’s “Panama Papers” revelations showed how the world’s wealthy used a discreet Panamanian legal firm to stash assets offshore.

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The investment fund under Dos Santos Jr’s control has been shown to have transferred tens of millions of dollars to businessman Jean-Claude “Zenu” Bastos de Morais to run the organisation.

Like many oil-rich nations, Angola created a sovereign wealth fund to invest the proceeds of the nation’s petroleum riches.

The fund was launched in 2011 and has $5-billion (€4.2-billion) under management.

A long-standing pillar of the regime, Angola’s new president had promised to distance himself from the dos Santos clan during his successful campaign ahead of the August 23 poll.

Jose Eduardo dos Santos’ daughter Isabel also held a key position at the top of the country’s all-powerful industry but also fell foul of Lourenco.

Appointed head of Sonangol by her father in 2016, Isabel was replaced in November by Lourenco and subsequently investigated by an ongoing graft probe.

Isabel, who is reported by Forbes magazine to be the richest woman in Africa, has flatly denied any misconduct.

Lourenco on Monday denied “any tension” with his long-serving predecessor after his first 100 days in office in which he removed many Dos Santos relatives and friends from public office in an anti-corruption crusade.

Angola, along with Nigeria, is one of Africa’s biggest oil producers, pumping out 1.7 million barrels per day. But the oil wealth has bypassed the overwhelming majority of citizens who live in grinding poverty.

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