Former Angolan president rejects he left state coffers ’empty’
Luanda, Angola | AFP | Former Angolan president Jose Eduardo dos Santos on Wednesday refuted allegations by his successor Joao Lourenco that he left the country’s finances “empty”.
The row comes just over a year after Dos Santos stepped down in September 2017 following 38 years in control of the oil-producing nation.
President Lourenco told Portuguese newspaper Expresso at the weekend that after coming to power he discovered “the state coffers empty”.
In a surprise news conference on Wednesday in the capital Luanda, Dos Santos hit back against the allegation, insisting: “In September 2017… there was about $15 billion in the National Bank of Angola.”
“I did not leave the state coffers empty,” he said.
Despite its oil wealth, Angola remains among the poorest countries in the world.
Lourenco has pledged to kickstart the ailing economy with a push to attract foreign investment to end its “excessive” dependence on oil revenue.
Since coming to power in September 2017, Lourenco has fought against corruption while also removing figures associated with the regime of his predecessor, including deposing Dos Santos’ daughter from the helm of state oil giant Sonangol.
Billionaire Isabel dos Santos is Africa’s richest woman.