Ver Angola


Isabel dos Santos attacks Manuel Vicente and says that each trip he made was equivalent to four of her salaries

Isabel dos Santos accused, this Tuesday, the Angolan authorities of not wanting to investigate corruption at Sonangol, highlighting that the company was practically bankrupt in 2015 and indirectly pointing to former vice-president Manuel Vicente as one of the main responsible.

: Bruno Fonseca/Lusa
Bruno Fonseca/Lusa  

In a long two-hour interview with Rádio Essencial, after the accusation relating to her alleged harmful management at the Angolan state oil company became known, Isabel dos Santos also involved Edeltrudes Costa, director of the President's office, João Lourenço, in the decisions taken at Sonangol and highlighted that no one has so far investigated corruption in the oil company.

The businesswoman stated that the decision to hire her as a consultant in 2015, at a time when Sonangol was practically bankrupt, was taken by the evaluation and analysis committee to increase the efficiency of the oil sector, chaired by Edeltrudes Costa, to whom she "reported directly" and that he invited other people into the administration.

According to Isabel dos Santos, the executive, led by her father José Eduardo dos Santos, "liked the project" she presented and wanted her team to implement it, which is why she was invited to preside over the company's administration and not "because she is the President's daughter", who even expressed "some fear" because she did not want to be accused of nepotism.

Isabel dos Santos highlighted that she found a "disastrous situation at Sonangol", which was without money to pay salaries, with debts to the bank and to its own suppliers, and added that "the harmful management of Sonangol had been going on before".

Among the names she mentioned were Francisco Lemos Maria (her predecessor in the presidency and who had accounts seized by the Portuguese tax authorities) and Manuel Vicente, who was "the one who managed Sonangol for the longest time".

Isabel dos Santos described the process as a "path of lies" traced by the Angolan justice system, highlighting that she had done "very positive things" for Sonangol, which returned to profit in 2017, when she was dismissed by João Lourenço (her father's successor) and reiterated that he was the target of "political persecution".

If this were not the case, he added, the consultants with whom he worked should also be accused, as should the 11 members of the administration who voted in favor of the decisions and Paulino Jerónimo, then president of the Executive Committee and current leader of the National Oil and Gas Agency (ANPG).

Asked about the 13 million dollars paid to her team during the period she was at the state oil company, Isabel dos Santos justified having increased salaries so that Sonangol would be a competitive company and attract the best staff, confirming her monthly remuneration of 50,000 dollars, but claimed to have saved costs.

"I didn't travel by private jet. Manuel Vicente and Francisco Lemos' trips cost four times my salary when they went to Portugal on their private jets," said the businesswoman, stressing that the former Angolan vice-president only traveled in his Falcon private.

Isabel dos Santos also said that the current Angolan executive "never investigated" and did not want to look into other allegations of corruption at Sonangol that targeted other administrators.

"How come Sonangol has no money in 2015 and no one investigates? No one ever wanted to know, that's why I say that this fight against corruption is not serious, it's a farce, it's a facade, part of a political campaign", she criticized.

Isabel dos Santos considered that "no one will be interrogated and no one will be disturbed" and challenged the Attorney General's Office to open a case against the former administrators and call her as a witness.

Isabel dos Santos, who has lived outside Angola for several years, is accused of 12 crimes relating to her management at Sonangol in the period between July 2016 and November 2017.


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