Angola

It has been a month since the release of a damning report into a massively corrupt Angolan-Russian debt deal. A month since it explained in forensic detail how more than US$700 million ended up in the pockets of arms dealers and senior Angolan officials, including President dos Santos. A month since a group of courageous Angolan anti-corruption campaigners used its new evidence to file criminal complaints in Angola and Switzerland.

So now we know. Isabel dos Santos is 'officially' Africa’s richest woman. In fact, she is the continent’s first ‘woman billionaire’ according to an appalling article on the Forbes magazine website, which was torn to shreds by Louise Redvers, who has lived in Luanda and who actually knows what she is talking about when it comes to Angola – and to the ever-increasing wealth of the dos Santos family.

The US Justice Department has just filed new court papers citing examples of what it calls "gross negligence and wilful misconduct" by BP over the disastrous oil spill at its Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

Angola’s never-ending president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, gave a very rare TV interview this week. Needless to say, his appearance was keenly anticipated.

Over a decade since the end of its long-running civil war, Angola remains a closed and repressive society, where a small political, military and business elite enjoys a lavish lifestyle while the vast majority of the population lives in acute poverty with little – or no – access to water, sanitation, health, shelter, education and other basic human rights. Elections, economic growth and a new constitution should have contributed to a more open and democratic society. But the opposite is the case.

So it’s over. There will be no Swiss investigation into the hugely corrupt Russia-Angola debt deal, which saw over US$750 million looted from Angola’s coffers - money that ended up in the pockets of senior Angolan officials (including the president) and the bank accounts of dodgy middlemen. And no further investigation in Switzerland of a deal that was facilitated by Swiss banks.

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