Updated: February 28, 2021
It is a shocking development just few months after the Angolan government leveled a myriad of allegations of massive fraud and embezzlement against her. New evidence suggests the administration of President João Lourenço may have used a fake passport as evidence to seize assets from Africa’s richest woman Isabel dos Santos.
After months of painstaking investigation, Isabel dos Santos has found out through court documents that a fake copy of her passport with the signature of martial artist and actor Bruce Lee was used to seize her assets in Angola and in Portugal.
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In an emailed statement that included pictures of the forged passport, Dos Santos explained how an internet fraudster claiming to represent her interests used the document to propose a loan to a Japanese startup before Angolan authorities presented it as part of evidence that she was attempting to transfer large sums of money abroad.
“This not only served as the basis for the confiscation of all the property of Ms dos Santos in Angola, but also for a rogatory letter asking the Portuguese judiciary to freeze her assets in Portugal,” Dos Santos said, according to Bloomberg.
The report quoted Dos Santos as saying her lawyers found the copy of the falsified passport and a string of emails about the loan proposal when they were given access to court files at the end of April.
She said the fake passport contains at least six glaring errors, including an incomplete name, two different passport numbers and a wrong date of birth.
“The most ridiculous aspect is the signature of the issuing authority: this is a reproduction of the signature of Bruce Lee,” she said.
The report noted that “Dos Santos’s assets in Angola and in Portugal have been frozen since authorities in the southwest African nation accused her of engaging in deals with state-owned companies that cost the state $1.14 billion.”
“The daughter of former President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has also been named as a suspect in a probe into alleged mismanagement of state oil giant Sonangol, which she headed between 2016 and 2018. She denies any wrongdoing and says the allegations are politically motivated.
“Dos Santos has an estimated net worth of about $2.4 billion, data compiled by Bloomberg show. A sizable portion of her wealth is in Portugal, Angola’s former colonial ruler, through indirect stakes in Portuguese oil company Galp Energia SGPS SA and cable firm NOS SGPS SA,” the report added.
The Angolan government has spent millions of dollars to lobby or exert influence over Americans and foreign officials in support of the Angolan effort to prosecute former President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos and his family.
And last Wednesday, Amnesty International warned that food aid meant to mitigate the devastating effects of the COVID-19 lockdowns and shutdowns was being distributed along party and political lines in Southern Africa, including in Angola.
“The distribution of food aid along party political lines is completely unacceptable and it is undermining the protection measures that governments have committed to implement to uphold the right to food for everyone,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Director for East and Southern Africa.