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Portugal seizes Africa’s richest woman Isabel dos Santos assets

Africa’s richest woman Isabel dos Santos is being accused of embezzling over $ 1 billion from Angolan state-owned firms.

Portugal seizes Africa's richest woman Isabel dos Santos assets www.africanstand.com
The Portuguese Government seized shares owned by Angola’s Isabel dos Santos in the Efacec Power Solutions SGPS SA Company.

Lisbon — The Portuguese government took control of a stake held by Angolan businesswoman, and Africa’s richest woman Isabel dos Santos in Efacec Power Solutions SGPS SA as it attempts to help the manufacturer find a new shareholder, Bloomberg news agency reports.

The eldest child and daughter of late President of Angola Jose Eduardo dos Santos, often named as the “richest woman of Africa” complained about the injustice committed to her. Ms.Dos Santos also denied any wrong-doings, used as a pretext to seize, and privatize part of her immense wealth.

The 72% stake in Efacec was held through Malta-based firm Winterfell 2, which is indirectly controlled by Isabel dos Santos, Economy minister Pedro Siza Vieira said in Lisbon on July 2 following a cabinet meeting. The government will immediately launch a plan to sell the stake and there are already proposals from various companies, he said.

An “impasse” in Efacec’s shareholder structure has led the producer of electrical equipment including transformers to face some difficulties with clients, suppliers, and creditors, and some orders have been canceled in the last few weeks, according to Siza Vieira. Efacec has annual sales of about €400M, the minister said.

Efacec said in January that dos Santos planned to sell her majority stake in the company.

In December, an Angolan court froze some assets of dos Santos, as well as those of her husband Sindika Dokolo and one of her executives, after prosecutors alleged they engaged in deals with state-owned companies that led to the Angolan government incurring losses.

In February, Portuguese prosecutors froze her bank accounts in the country. Dos Santos has previously denied any wrongdoing.

Angolan billionaire businesswoman said she had been “denied justice” after losing an appeal against an asset freeze over alleged corruption.

Described by Forbes magazine as the wealthiest woman in Africa, she is accused of diverting billions of dollars from state companies during her father Jose Eduardo dos Santos’s nearly 40-year rule of the oil-rich nation.

Since her father retired in 2017, her business empire has been targeted by his successor, Joao Lourenco, who has vowed to defeat corruption.

“I have been denied justice from the courts in Angola and Portugal,” dos Santos said in a statement.

Hassan Juma

Written by Hassan Juma

Hassan Juma is an international reporter who graduated with a degree from The United States International University where he majored in Journalism and International Relations and he is currently working for African Stand as a senior reporter covering the Middle East, US, Asia, and Europe.

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