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Angola Recovers USD5Bn Assets Stolen By Gov’t Officials

By Keefa Nuwahereza

Whereas several African leaders are known to swim in wealth looted from their poor taxyers, Angola is not about to accept that.

The latest we have is that Angola’s Justice Minister Francisco Queiroz has said the country has so far this year recovered more than five billion dollars stolen from state coffers, both at home and abroad.

The money, including three billion dollars stolen from the sovereign wealth fund, had been siphoned off through corruption and money-laundering, state news agency ANGOP on Monday quoted Queiroz as telling an international conference in Abu Dhabi.

Queiroz did not give specific details about how the money was stolen.

“We have argued insistently that these important resources should be returned unconditionally to the countries from which they were illegally withdrawn in order to be used to improve the quality of life of our populations,” Queiroz was quoted as saying, adding that some countries could do more to help.

An anti-corruption drive has accelerated in Africa’s second-biggest oil-exporting country since 2017, when Joao Lourenco became president, ending the nearly 40-year grip on power by Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

The government wants to erase the influence of the former first family, recover lost assets and privatise state firms.

After taking over, Lourenco fired Dos Santos’ son as head of the sovereign wealth fund and his daughter, Isabel, as chair of state oil company Sonangol.

The son, Jose Filomeno de Sousa, went on trial last week along with the head of the central bank accused of transferring $500m in state funds to a London account.

The government said a business partner had returned over three billion dollars allegedly stolen from the sovereign wealth fund.

However, members of the Dos Santos family have denied wrongdoing.

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