Government refuses to comment on Angola’s seizure of accounts and businesses of ‘Africa’s richest woman’

Isabel dos Santos hints at running for Angolan presidency

In the news recently for having her bank accounts and company shares ‘frozen’ on suspicion of having damaged the Angolan State to the tune of a billion euros, former first daughter Isabel dos Santos has surprised everyone by hinting that she may run for president of the African nation that her father led for nearly 40 years.

Talking to RTP for an interview screened yesterday, Ms dos Santos said: “I will do everything that I have to do to defend and serve my homeland, my country”.

The declaration comes in a week when Portuguese authorities have also reportedly opened an investigation into Ms dos Santos’ financial affairs here (click here).

For the time being, the businesswoman often described as “Africa’s richest woman” is busy giving her side of the developing story, suggesting she has been made a political scapegoat – and that the financial ‘seizures’ are more to do with ‘neutralising’ her father’s political standing in Angola than any real crime.

Looking at the situation from a completely different angle, Angolan economist Manuel Alves da Rocha believes the seizure of Ms dos Santos bank accounts and businesses in Angola are ‘a drop in the ocean’ compared to the countries ‘enormous necessities’ for finance and the ‘total value’ of funds that have already left Angola or were removed illegally from the State.

Talking to Jornal Económico, Alves da Rocha said the seizure of Ms dos Santos property “has been interpreted internationally as an act of courage” (by current president João Lourenço) but it is essentially just a detail.

What is more important, he intimated, is how João Lourenço’s efforts to crack down on corruption fare, and whether the people of Angola continue to support him.

As for Ms dos Santos possible political ambitions, this story is basically just getting wilder and wilder.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com