Angola will investigate reports of a $50 billion shortfall in the accounts of the state-run oil company, local newspaper Valor Economico reported, citing unidentified people close to international consultants hired to restructure the company.
The assessment uncovered “discrepancies” between the funds received and invested and showed that the company had withheld revenue to the government, according to Valor’s report published on Monday. Some of Sonangol’s assets were overvalued and contracts weren’t negotiated in the best interest of the state, according to the newspaper.
Angola’s economy has been strained by the slump in oil, which provides about two-thirds of fiscal revenue. Angola President Jose Eduardo dos Santos last week fired the board of Sonangol and appointed his daughter Isabel dos Santos as the chairwoman. It’s part of a wider plan to restrict the company to its primary role as state concessionary, severing the regulatory arm and management of its range of businesses into separate agencies.
Isabel dos Santos, speaking at a press conference on Monday in the capital, Luanda, said she hadn’t seen Valor’s story and declined to comment on the allegations.
The president began considering putting his daughter in charge of the company after learning about the “substantial losses” dating back years, the newspaper said.
The Ministry of Finance will now screen the company’s financial records, Valor reported.
Sonangol for years has been criticized for its opaque structure. Angola ranks near the bottom of Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index.