The son of Angola’s former president has been jailed for five years for fraud from when he was head of the oil-rich nation’s Sovereign Wealth Fund.
José Filomeno dos Santos, 42, was accused of attempting to embezzle as a lot as $1.5bn (£1.1bn) whereas overseeing the $5bn fund from 2013 to 2018.
He was charged with stealing $500m from the fund and transferring it to a checking account in Switzerland.
Dos Santos’ father, José Eduardo dos Santos, led the nation for 38 years.
José Eduardo dos Santos was president from 1979 until he resigned in 2017, to get changed by the individual he had handpicked for the job, his former defence minister Joao Lourenço.
José Filomeno dos Santos, usually referred to as Zenu, spent seven months in jail over the corruption allegations sooner than being freed in March.
He was the first member of the earlier presidential family to be prosecuted as part of an anti-corruption advertising marketing campaign led by President Lourenço.
It was extensively seen as a examine of Angola’s dedication to stopping corruption.
Sentencing Dos Santos on the nation’s Supreme Courtroom, Justice Joao da Cruz Pitra talked about: “For the crime of fraud… and for the crime of peddling have an effect on… the licensed cumulus condemns him to a single sentence of 5 years in jail.”
Three co-defendants had been moreover accused of fraud, embezzlement and have an effect on peddling – along with the earlier governor of the nationwide monetary establishment of Angola (BNA) Valter Filipe da Silva.
That they had been each sentenced to between four and 6 years in jail.
All four defendants had been acquitted of money laundering costs. They beforehand denied any wrongdoing.
That’s, undoubtedly, a giant second for Angola.
It’s important to don’t forget that, for a few years, there was no public fight in opposition to corruption in a country dominated by a “royal family”, and scores had been on a regular basis settled behind closed doorways. In that sense, the very public conviction of such a excellent decide marks a dramatic shift from the years of elite impunity that characterised Angola’s political financial system.
Nonetheless all through Angola, the conviction of “Zenu” is extra more likely to be greeted with some ambivalence in a nation grappling with deep monetary challenges, and the place many are starting to shock if the model new president’s clean-up advertising marketing campaign is definitely additional about settling scores with earlier rivals – a slim vendetta – pretty than heralding the beginning of an interval of true transparency.
“It’s a step forward. Nonetheless the jury stays to be out on what it truly means,” talked about Ricardo Soares di Oliviera, an Oxford professor and educated on African politics. He seen that the authorities had been prosecuting “obvious suspects and low-hanging fruit” linked to the Dos Santos family, nevertheless have however to maneuver additional broadly in opposition to entrenched corruption.
And proper right here is the true risk for Angola, as prosecutors continues to pursue the far higher-profile objective of Isabel dos Santos: that an anti-corruption drive that was initially hailed as a game-changing switch for one in every of many continent’s “sleeping giants”, turns proper right into a mere weapon in an arsenal of political dirty suggestions.
President Lourenço fired one different of his predecessor’s children, Isabel dos Santos, believed to be Africa’s richest girl, from her place as head of the state oil massive 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 earlier president can be believed to have left the nation.