The Supreme Court in Angola has handed a five-year jail sentence to Jose Filomeno dos Santos, the son of the country’s former president, for $500m fraud.

The 42-year-old was accused of trying to embezzle up to $1.5bn from the sovereign wealth fund, which he oversaw from 2013 to 2018.

He was later charged with stealing $500m from the fund and transferring it to a bank account in Switzerland.

His father, José Eduardo dos Santos, led the country for 38 years. He was president from 1979 until he resigned in 2017, and was replaced by his former defence minister, Joao Lourenço.

On Friday August 14, judge Joao da Cruz Pitra jailed Jose Filomeno dos Santos, also known as Zenu, for five years. 

“For the crime of fraud … and for the crime of peddling influence … the legal cumulus condemns him to a single sentence of five years in prison,” judge Joao da Cruz Pitra said.

Three co-defendants, including the former governor of the National Bank of Angola (BNA), Valter Filipe da Silva, were sentenced to between four and six years in prison for fraud, embezzlement and influence peddling.

Zenu is the first member of the former presidential family to be prosecuted as part of an anti-corruption campaign led by President Joao Lourenco, who came to power in 2017.

Back in February, Angolan investigators froze the assets of Zenu’s billionaire half-sister, Isabel dos Santos.

She is being probed for a long list of crimes in Angola, including mismanagement, embezzlement, and money laundering during her stewardship of the state-run oil giant, Sonangol.

1 COMMENT

  1. Corruption is prevalent throughout the continent. Tied to this is the fact that anti-corruption efforts fail because of a lack of honest and accountable leaders. Many have co-opted democratic systems or they simply make up the rules as they go along to stay in power. Behind it all lies an insatiable appetite for money, and the realisation that power can deliver untold wealth. We should called for a mass burial of the political elite, which would help combat corruption and unlock the country’s potential, or make a tougher law like death sentence for whosoever charged with and convicted of corruption.

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