"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." ~~Thomas Jefferson

"Who will protect us from those who protect us?"

Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. ~ Thomas Jefferson

"None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free." ~~Goethe

18 August 2013

Power corrupts...

How an African 'Princess' Made $3 Billion in a Land Where Most Live on $2 a Day


By Kerry A. Dolan and Rafael Marques de Morais


29 Jan 2013, Lobito, Angola --- epa03561008 A file photo dated 27 August 2012 shows Isabel dos Santos posing and making the V sign in Lobito, Angola, 29 January 2013. Isabel dos Santos, the oldest daughter of the Angolian President, is a business woman and investor, and, according to Forbes Magazine's recent calculations, she is Africa's first female billionaire. On top of her interests in oil and diamonds, she has significant shares in telecommunications, media, retail, finance and the energy industry, both in Angola and in Portugal. EPA/PAULO NOVAIS --- Image by ? PAULO NOVAIS/epa/Corbis

Last December, Isabel dos Santos commemorated her tenth wedding anniversary to Congolese businessman Sindika Dokolo with a party. Subtlety wasn't on the menu. She jetted in dozens of friends and relatives from as far as Germany and Brazil, who joined with hundreds of local guests in Angola for three days of lavishness, including a bash at the Fortress of Sao Miguel in the capital city of Luanda and a beachside Sunday brunch on the posh Mussulo peninsula. The invitation, according to one attendee, came in a sleek white box, promising a celebration of "a decade of passion/ a decade of friendship/ a decade worth a hundred years. ..."

A decade worth $3 billion is more like it. At 40, Dos Santos is Africa's only female billionaire, and also the continent's youngest. She has quickly and systematically garnered significant stakes in Angola's strategic industries -- banking, cement, diamonds and telecom -- making her the most influential businessperson in her homeland. More than half of her assets are held in publicly traded Portuguese companies, adding international credibility. When FORBES outed her as a billionaire in January the government disseminated the news as a matter of national pride, living proof that this country of 19 million has arrived.

The real story, however, is how Dos Santo -- the oldest daughter of Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos -- acquired her wealth. For the past year FORBES has been tracing Isabel dos Santos' path to riches, reviewing a score of documents and speaking with dozens of people on the ground. As best as we can trace, every major Angolan investment held by Dos Santos stems either from taking a chunk of a company that wants to do business in the country or from a stroke of the president's pen that cut her into the action. Her story is a rare window into the same, tragic kleptocratic narrative that grips resource-rich countries around the world.

For President Dos Santos it's a foolproof way to extract money from his country, while keeping a putative arm's-length distance away. If the 71-year-old president gets overthrown, he can reclaim the assets from his daughter. If he dies in power, she keeps the loot in the family. Isabel may decide, if she is generous, to share some of it with her seven known half-siblings. Or not. The siblings are known around Angola for despising one another.

"It is not possible to justify this wealth, which is shamelessly displayed," former Angolan prime minister Marcolino Moco tells FORBES. "There is no doubt that it was the father who generated such a fortune."

Isabel dos Santos declined to speak with FORBES for this article. Her representatives failed to respond to detailed questions sent months ago but last week issued this statement: "Mrs. Isabel dos Santos is an independent business woman, and a private investor representing solely her own interests. Her investments in Angolan and/or in Portuguese companies are transparent and have been conducted through arms-length transactions involving external entities such as reputed banks and law firms." In turn, the spokesman accuses this article's coauthor, an Angolan investigative journalist, of being an activist with a political agenda. The Angolan government jailed Marques de Morais in 1999 over a series of articles critical of the regime and has brought new criminal defamation charges against him over his 2011 book, Blood Diamonds: Corruption and Torture in Angola .

Read the rest here.


Some things never change  :)  Power corrupts.  Its the same wherever you go.  Generation to generation. 

Stay safe.


Brock Townsend said...

Power corrupts

Indeed. Lord Acton

Volunteer said...

I heard a better and IMHO more accurate statement.

"Power does not corrupt, corruptible people seek out positions of power"

So, the good guys get pushed out.