Ver Angola


Isabel dos Santos unlikely to be tried in Angola, says researcher

British investigator Justin Pearce told Lusa that businesswoman Isabel dos Santos is unlikely to go on trial in Luanda because she will avoid entering any country that has an extradition agreement with Angola.


"She clearly has access to excellent lawyers, and I think she will be very careful not to enter any country with which Angola has an extradition agreement," said the academic, stressing that the problem is also on Angola's side.

In an interview with Lusa to comment on the disclosure of documents on the business of businesswoman Isabel dos Santos, in the case known as 'Luanda Leaks', the Angolan and Mozambican professor specialized in politics said that "the lack of prosecuting capacity in Angola is the greatest challenge for the state in building these judicial cases.

On the other hand, he argued, Angola is using the media attention of the 'Luanda Leaks' to encourage other countries to take legal action against the interests of businesswoman Isabel dos Santos.

"By creating international media interest in corruption in the time of [former president] José Eduardo dos Santos, the government of João Lourenço is trying to encourage judicial agents in other countries where she does business to take legal action," said the professor of African Studies at King's College.

Asked whether this action against Isabel dos Santos is a revenge of the current president or just a consequence of the fight against corruption, Justin Pearce replied: "It is good to remember that when Lourenço arrived at the presidency, the state moved quickly to investigate and accuse José Filomeno dos Santos, so I have no doubt that there was an intention from the beginning to accuse Isabel as well".

For this reason, he continued, "no one can say that this initiative is opportunistic and based solely on the provision of evidence, because the magistrates were already actively looking for evidence".

In either case, "being a revenge or a genuine desire to fight corruption is not a mutually exclusive possibility," said Justin Pearce, explaining that "João Lourenço has every reason to resent what happened to him between 2001 and 2014, when dos Santos kept him away from any position of influence, but it is also important for Lourenço to rebuild confidence in Angola following the excesses of the dos Santos regime.

This "visible effort against corruption is an important part of this process, and by pursuing leading figures like the son and daughter of the former president, he is showing that he is serious," the investigator added.

Asked whether João Lourenço's political capital is in danger of fading due to the country's economic conditions, which are expected to face the fifth consecutive year of economic recession this year, Justin Pearce said this has always been a risk.

"This has always been a risk, which is why so much of João Lourenço's credibility rests on his ability to distance himself from the old regime," he replied, pointing out that "even during the supposedly good economic years, most sngolans remained poor".

He concluded, "keeping an eye on what happened at the dos Santos consulate, Lourenço is reminding Angolans that he is not to blame for poverty, present and past.

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