Ver Angola


PwC consultant accused of facilitating damaging management by Isabel dos Santos

The consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is accused by the Angolan authorities of having facilitated the damaging management of Isabel dos Santos at Sonangol, having received 10.5 million dollars in consultancy services during her tenure.

: Facebook PwC Angola
Facebook PwC Angola  

In the order that Lusa had access to in which PwC is accused of influence peddling and qualified tax fraud, it is stated that the consultant provided services over several years to the various companies owned by Isabel dos Santos, while the head of PwC and partner, Sarju Raikundalia, was his financial administrator at the Angolan state oil company.

Mário Leite da Silva, another associate of the Angolan businesswoman and manager in several of her companies, was also linked to the consultancy at the beginning of his career.

PwC is identified as one of several consultants subcontracted by Ironsea/Mater, a company controlled by Isabel dos Santos and her associates, which received payments from Sonangol in duplicate for the same consultancy services allegedly provided as part of the implementation of the Sonangol transformation project.

In addition to these supposed consultancy services, PwC also provided external audit services to Sonangol, "as a result of the relationship of trust that exists between it and the defendants Isabel dos Santos, Mário Silva and Sarju Raikundalia", according to the document consulted by Lusa.

The document states that PwC "covered up" all the illicit actions carried out in connection with the hiring of Ironsea/Mater – a company based in Dubai to which Sonangol made illicit payments – and enabled undue receipts in favor of PwC Portugal abroad, despite the PwC Angola was excluded from the competition held by Sonangol to audit the oil company's accounts in 2016.

Sarju Raikundalia had in the meantime approached PWC so that it could send the proposal back to Sonangol, with the administration chaired by the daughter of former President José Eduardo dos Santos deciding in favor of the direct award to the consultant with the protest that costs would be reduced.

"Aware that the defendant PwC Angola did not have the technical capacity to perform this service, without authorization from the Board of Directors, it turned to PwC Portugal, which made around 80 percent of its technicians available", the document reads.

On October 18, 2016, PwC, "in conjunction with the defendants Isabel dos Santos and Sarju Raikundalia, hired PwC Portugal to provide the same audit service, as well as a fee letter worth 3.9 million euros, of which PwC Angola received only 395,000 euros.

With this contract, PwC Angola and PwC Portugal became Sonangol's external auditors for the year 2016, while Sarju Raikundalia, who was previously a partner at PwC Angola, began to coordinate the work carried out by the consultants, ignoring conflicts of interest existing and the lack of transparency and impartiality, highlights the accusation.

Furthermore, PwC Angola and PwC Portugal issued invoices to Sonangol with the same descriptions, giving rise to double payments and illicit capital outflows to the detriment of the oil company.

As for the audit reports, they were issued intentionally, "without reservation, in a manifest lack of independence and disregard for the flagrant irregularities observed", including fraudulent payments to various entities.

Meanwhile, Sonangol opened a limited tender in September 2017 based on prior qualification for independent statutory external audit services for the period 2017 to 2020, with the award of the contract being recommended to PwC Portugal and PwC Angola.

However, the activities did not move forward, as they were removed on December 1, 2017 by the new board of directors, chaired by Carlos Saturnino, after Isabel dos Santos was dismissed, and whose complaints gave rise to the process that should soon begin to trial.

During Isabel dos Santos' term at the head of the state oil company, PwC received 10.5 million dollars under contracts for the provision of audit services.


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