Angola: President’s Son to Chair $5 Billion Fund

Angola named one of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos’s sons chairman of the country’s $5 billion sovereign wealth fund, adding to a record of corruption, nepotism and a lack of transparency that had dogged the African country and its longtime leader, Reuters reported.

President dos Santos has faced criticism for failing to curb in corruption in Angola. The President, who has ruled for the last 33 years -- and who recently won another five year term -- has also been accused of mismanaging revenues, Reuters reported.

Despite assurances about the fund’s commitment to transparency and accountability, Angola’s track record of high-level corruption, bribery, and embezzlement by government officials is cause for concern.

A report by Corruption Watch UK and the Angolan organization Associação Mãos Livres in April 2013, uncovered widespread corruption in a 1996 sovereign debt deal between Russia and Angola. The deal enriched a number of unnecessary middlemen who walked away with hundreds of millions of dollars in exchange for redundant or fictitious services. The report claimed that President dos Santos received $36 million for his role in the charade. Angolan citizens were robbed of over $73 million in the deal.

Angola founded the fund in October to diversify the country’s energy-based economy, but the appointment of dos Santos’s son to the board of the fund drew criticism from opposition parties. The fund is meant to invest oil revenue into a broader range of industries, including the hotel industry, education, healthcare, and a variety of financial institutions.