Ver Angola


Cape Verdean Unitel T+ works normally despite the arrest of Isabel dos Santos

The director general of Cape Verdean Unitel T+ assured Lusa that the telecommunications operator continues to operate normally and invest in the business, despite the seizure involving businesswoman and shareholder Isabel dos Santos.


"The company is operating and, incidentally, the intention is not that the company cease to operate", said Inoweze Ferreira, although he declined to go into "shareholder" issues.

Unitel T+ is one of two Cape Verdean operators of fixed, mobile, internet and pay-TV telecommunications. In the area of mobile telecommunications, in 2022 the operator held a 32 percent share of around 578,000 active SIM cards in Cape Verde.

Last December, the Supreme Court (TS) determined the preventive seizure of the assets of businesswoman Isabel dos Santos, valued at one billion dollars, namely 100 percent of the companies Unitel T+ in Cape Verde and Unitel STP SARL in São Tomé and Príncipe, from that the daughter of the former President of Angola José Eduardo dos Santos is the beneficial owner.

"This is a much more shareholder-oriented topic. Naturally, I am not in a position to talk about the issues", said Inoweze Ferreira.

"But what I can say is that Unitel is confident. We are working, we are working and, therefore, that nothing will affect the operation and continuity of the business", she added.

The preventive seizure of said assets, according to the order signed by Judge Daniel Modesto Geraldes of the TS and previously reported by Lusa, comes under Angolan law and article 31 of the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

The TS argues that the measure arises because there are "strong indications" that the businesswoman has obtained "illicit advantages" for the formation of the aforementioned companies with funds from the Angolan State.

The Supreme Court lists, in the long order, 69 reasons to justify its decision to determine the global value of the arrest estimated at 1,000,000,000.00 dollars.

Documents from the state oil company Sonangol and Unitel, rogatory letters from the Netherlands and Portugal and the processing of data resulting from the financial analysis carried out by the National Asset Recovery Service (SENRA) of the Attorney General's Office (PGR) are the "elements of the process that indicate the facts" imputed to the businesswoman.

"In the present records there are indications of the crime of embezzlement, influence peddling, economic participation in business and money laundering, foreseen and punishable under the terms of Angolan laws", reads in the order.

The determination recalls that until recently Unitel SA (telecommunications operator in Angola), a company nationalized by the State last November, was held by four shareholders, each with 25 percent of the share capital and that Mercury-Mstelcom S.A is a company subsidiary of Sonangol.

It points out that Vidatel Lda, incorporated on 12/14/1999, headquartered in the British Virgin Islands, has Isabel dos Santos and Geni SA as effective beneficiaries, whose effective beneficiary is the Angolan general Leopoldino Fragoso do Nascimento "Dino".

According to the order, among other accusations, Isabel dos Santos "also transferred amounts from Unitel SA to the entity Unitel International Holdings BV, a company headquartered in the Netherlands, incorporated on 05/04/2012 and controlled by Isabel dos Santos, her sole beneficial owner".

Indeed, between May 8, 2012 and August 28, 2013, the note refers to, seven financing agreements were signed between Unitel SA and Unitel International Holdings BV, through which the first loaned the second the total amount of 322,979,711.00 euros and 43,000,000.00 dollars, amounts that the beneficiary company "undertook to refund within a period of 10 years".

Such loans, "in which Isabel dos Santos signed the aforementioned financing contracts, simultaneously acting as the legal representative of both companies", allowed Unitel International Holdings BV to acquire shareholdings or set up companies in the telecommunications sector in Portugal, Cape Verde (Unitel T+) and Sao Tome and Principe (Unitel STP, SARL)".


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