Angola’s leader vows to fight corruption

José Eduardo dos Santos (L) handed power to João Lourenço (R) after 48 years
José Eduardo dos Santos (L) handed power to João Lourenço (R) after 48 years

Angola’s President João Lourenço has vowed to recover money siphoned out of the oil-rich state, saying his campaign against corruption should not be seen as the “persecution” of wealthy families, the Angola Press Agency reports.

His comments came as his predecessor José Eduardo dos Santos, who is still the head of the ruling MPLA party, said that changes were necessary, but they should not be “as radical”, BBC Afrique reports.

Mr Lourenço has shaken up the government since he took office, sacking Mr Dos Santos’ daughter Isabel as the chair of the state oil company, Sonangol.

He also sacked the police and intelligence chiefs, despite parliament passing a law in the dying days of Mr Dos Santos’ rule that they would remain in their posts for eight years.

Speaking at a seminar on crime, Mr Lourenço said that Angolans who had illegally stashed money abroad should bring it back and invest it in the country – or else the government would take steps to recover the cash, the news agency quoted him as saying.

Mr Lourenço added:

Do not confuse the fight against corruption with persecution of the rich or of wealthy families. The rich are welcome as long as their fortunes are lawful.”

Mr Lourenço the former defence minister, was hand-picked by Mr Dos Santos for the presidency, but there has been persistent speculation of tension between the two as the new president, who is the deputy leader of the MPLA, asserts his authority.

Mr Dos Santos was the president for 38 years. He stepped down in August.

*Culled from BBC

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