The Dutch dredging company Van Oord is involved in human rights violations and possible corruption in Angola. Three thousand families were forcibly driven out of their homes due to an urban development project near the capital Luanda. That writes Faithful based on leaked documents in the hands of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
Trouw conducted an on-site investigation and interviewed residents who were forcibly evicted from their homes to make way for the dredging project. The residents say they were beaten by the police and the army and sprayed with tear gas. “After a week of violence, the residents were put on the street and became homeless,” the newspaper writes.
In addition to Van Oord, ING and Atradius, the credit insurer of the Dutch state, are also involved in the construction project. ING loaned more than 360 million euros to the Angolan state to finance the project, Atradius insured the sum. In a response to Trouw, Van Oord and ING say that they will commit themselves to compensation for the displaced residents.
Africa’s richest woman
According to Trouw, the dredging company worked on the project with the daughter of the former president of Angola, Isabel dos Santos. According to it ICIJ she has enriched herself by exploiting her homeland. She raised more than a billion euros through lucrative deals that her father arranged for her. With an estimated capital of 2 billion euros, Dos Santos is the richest woman in Africa.
She was the top boss of the state-owned oil company Sanangol. Her father, José Eduardo dos Santos, appointed her in 2016. A year later he resigned after 38 years and was replaced by his defense minister who tackled corruption hard. Isabel dos Santos was fired immediately and assets were seized with a total value of $ 1.1 billion.
’58 million dollars channeled away ‘
The leaked documents show that Dos Santos immediately sent millions to a consultancy company in Dubai after her dismissal. The owner of that company was good friends with Dos Santos. In the days following the resignation, some 58 million dollars would have been transferred to the company in Dubai.
Dos Santos denies that money has been channeled away. She speaks of a political witch hunt.
715,000 confidential documents
The allegations are part of an investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), to which Trouw and the Financieele Dagblad are affiliated. The investigation is based on hundreds of interviews and a leak of more than 715,000 confidential documents, such as e-mails. International media such as The Guardian, The New York Times and Le Monde have also worked on the research.
According to corruption watch corruption watch, the documents show how Dos Santos exploited her land at the expense of ordinary Angolans. “Every time she appears on the cover of a glossy magazine, every time she organizes one of her glamorous parties in southern France, she does so by stepping on the aspirations of the people of Angola.”