LUANDA, 15 November 2020 – Angola is ramping up its fight to recover funds it says were siphoned by allies of former president Jose Eduardo dos Santos.
Angolan President Joao Lourenco told the Wall Street Journal in an interview that he is working to recover cash that was looted amounting to at least $24 billion.
Jose Eduardo dos Santos was president from 1979 until he stepped down from power in 2017.
“New things are being discovered… it is likely that much bigger numbers will be announced later,” Lourenco told reporters.
The figure of $24 billion reportedly looted is $4 billion bigger than Angola’s debt to China, the country’s main creditor.
Lourenco says over half of those funds – $13.5 billion – were swindled through corrupt contracts with the Angola State Oil Company (SONANGOL).
That amount alone is double Angola’s foreign currency reserves, according to Lourenco.
Lourenco claims he has already recovered about $5 billion in ill-gotten gains.
Angola has been seeking debt relief worth a total $6.7 billion from creditors believed to include China, but no deal has been announced yet.