Son of retired Angolan president to remain in custody

Thursday November 29 2018

Mr José Filomeno dos Santos aka Zenú. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP


The son of former Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos, who is facing fraud charges, will remain in detention for 25 more days, a court has ruled.

The Supreme Court (SC) made the decision on Wednesday following the expiry of Mr José Filomeno dos Santos aka Zenú's initial 45 days in custody.

The private-owned O País daily quoted a court notification to Mr Zenú's lawyer, Mr Benja Satula, as saying that the custody would be extended for renewable 25 days, to allow the investigations to be concluded.

“We are surprised because we respected with the court conditions,'' the O País quoted Mr Satula as saying.

Arraigned in court

"We would like Mr José Filomeno dos Santos be freed as there were no reasons to extend his stay in custody," he added.


Mr Zenú was detained in September at the São Paulo Prison in Luanda, following his arrest.

A statement from the Attorney-General's office said the son of the retired president would be arraigned in court to answer for charges related to questionable business deals.

He was arrested alongside his business associate, Mr Jean Claude Bastos de Morais.


Angolan President Joao Lourenco. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Mr Zenú is at the centre of the suspect transfer of $500 million from the Angolan sovereign fund, which he once headed.

The money was allegedly transferred from the Angolan Reserve Bank to the Credit Suisse Bank in the UK.

The AG's office said the arrests followed investigations, which though still continuing, had produced enough evidence implicating the two defendants.

Angolan authorities last March barred Mr Zenú from leaving the country over fraud charges.

Eldest daughter

President João Lourenço has embarked on an anti-corruption crusade that has seen several close associates of his predecessor implicated in wrongdoing.

He took over in August last year, following an election marking the end of President dos Santos's 38-year reign.

President Lourenço sacked Mr Zenú as the head of the strategic sovereign fund in January.

The president also sacked Isabel dos Santos, the former president’s eldest daughter, as the chair of the board of the state-owned oil firm Sonangol.

Ms Isabel dos Santos, who is Africa’s richest woman, faces several graft investigations.