Former Sonangol Chairperson Loses Court Case to the Angolan State, in France

Isabel dos Santos has lost one of the several pitched battles she is waging against her country for going after her allegedly stolen wealth.

An arbitration tribunal in Paris, France, ruled itself incompetent to hear the charges that the former Chairperson of the Sonangol, the Angolan state hydrocarbon company, brought against the government of Angola.

This particular case involves the cancellation of the concessioning of the Barra do Dande port, located north of Luanda, to Atlantic Ventures, a company in which Ms. Dos Santos is a shareholder.

That concessioning, made through a presidential decree signed by (former) President José Eduardo dos Santos a few days before leaving power in September 2017, drew widespread public condemnation of cronyism and nepotism, as Ms. Dos Santos is President dos Santos’ daughter.

That decree was annulled by another presidential decree, signed by (current) President João Lourenço in 2018. And this is why Ms. Dos Santos is in court.

The arbitration tribunal’s decision effectively aligns with the position of the Angolan authorities, who are insisting that the dispute is an Angolan affair that should be settled by the Angolan judiciary system.

The tribunal ordered Atlantic Ventures to pay approximately $228,000 to the Angolan authorities, corresponding to the reimbursement of costs incurred in the proceedings.

The Angolan authorities had explained that, despite the discussions between the two parties on the concession, no contract or clause on the settlement of a possible dispute has been signed, making it impossible to exercise arbitration justice, an argument validated by the tribunal.

 


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