Isabel dos Santos, the richest woman in Africa and the daughter of the former president of Angola Jose Eduardo dos Santos, is under investigations by Angola’s state-owned oil company Sonangol for alleged misappropriation of funds.
Isabel, who, until last month, had been serving as the head of Sonangol, is accused of ordering suspicious transfer of funds and making questionable payments worth tens of millions of dollars, according to AFP.
These allegations emerged last month immediately after the new Angolan President Joao Lourenco fired Isabel from Sonangol. Several local media stations have been reporting that the new management at the oil company has discovered a suspicious transfer of 67 million dollars to Dubai.
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But the illustrious businesswoman has emphatically refuted any misconduct on her part, terming the allegations of corruption as a smear campaign by her rivals.
“This fake news… doesn’t deserve any credibility since their only goal is to cast doubt on the integrity of Isabel dos Santos,” she wrote in a tweet.
Investigators hired by the oil firm are currently looking into a suspicious monthly payment that allegedly began when Isabel was controversially appointed by her father to head the company in 2016.
The payments, which amount to 10 million euros, were reportedly made to a Portuguese company in which Isabel was the main investor.
These reports come less than two months after the former President dos Santos was adversely mentioned in the explosive “Paradise Papers” as having facilitated dubious payments of millions of dollars to overseas companies for services that were never rendered.
Isabel is estimated to be worth $3.5 billion, although some critics say most of her wealth is directly connected to her father’s power and connections. Some also refer to her as the symbol of nepotism in Angola.
President Lourenco, who also served under president dos Santos as Minister of Defense, has promised to deal comprehensively with the problem of corruption in the country and ensure resources are put to good use.
Angola is the second-largest oil producer in Africa, generating close to 1.8 million barrels of oil per day, but the country remains one of the poorest in the world, with almost half of the its population living on less than a dollar a day.