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confidentially speaking

The Africa Confidential Blog

  • 27th September 2018

Will Angola probe go right to the top?

Blue Lines

First came the shocking but not wholly surprising news on 24 September that José Filomeno dos Santos, better known as Zenú, son of the former President, José Eduardo dos Santos, was being held in preventive detention in connection with a US$1.5 billion corruption case. Zenú was appointed by his father in 2013 as Chief Executive of the Fundo Soberano de Angola with some $5bn of state funds.

Sacked from the Fund in January by new President João Lourenço, Zenú was charged in May with fraud on a $500m transfer of cash from the central bank in Luanda to a company in Britain. Angolan-Swiss businessman Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais, an asset manager with the fund, is also being held in Luanda.

According to filings from the Panama Papers leak in May 2016, Bastos de Morais earned over $41m in just 20 months for managing the fund's assets.

How far might this probe go? Prosecutor-General Alvaro da Silva João insists the state has 'sufficient evidence' of Dos Santos and Bastos de Morais's involvement in 'acts of corruption'. Anti-corruption campaigner Rafael Marques de Morais reports that Zenú had a plan to raise a $30bn investment fund, managed by his company Mais Financial Services and backed by his father. The former central bank governor Valter Filipe, has been sacked and is being held responsible for ordering the $500m transfer. The question now is from whom did Filipe get his orders.