Isabel Dos Santos during a Reuters interview in London, the UK, on January 9 2020. Picture: REUTERS/ TOBY MELVILLE
Isabel Dos Santos during a Reuters interview in London, the UK, on January 9 2020. Picture: REUTERS/ TOBY MELVILLE

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has performed a major public service by shedding light on Isabel dos Santos’s shady dealings.

The revelations should inform the ongoing criminal investigation into her highly controversial role as head of Sonangol. It is of course crucial that the criminal investigation follows due process.

Unfortunately, it does appear that Angolan President João Lourenço’s anti-corruption drive is selective in who can and cannot be held to account. Key figures in the old regime are being targeted, but people close to the president seemingly escape having to answer allegations of graft.

The international dimension of this story is also important. PwC is just one of many major professional services firms implicated in the ICIJ’s reports. These firms must now hold transparent investigations and co-operate with law enforcement. Ultimately, however, they need to be subject to stronger legal requirements to screen their clients on an ongoing basis and report suspicious activity to law enforcement.

Finally, this scandal reinforces calls for governments to crack down on tax havens. Western countries bear the greatest responsibility for taking action against offshore financial centres as most fall under their jurisdiction. But the Southern African Development Community must call out the Seychelles and Mauritius for their financial secrecy.

Sunit Bagree
Action for Southern Africa