Angola confiscates mines from former president's 'kin'

Former Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

The Angolan government has repossessed diamond reserve from a woman who once claimed to be the daughter of former President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, private media reported.

Crime newspaper the Jornal O Crime said the government had taken over the mines in Lunda Norte Province from Ms Nguituka Josefa Matias, 54, a DR Congolese national.

The ornal O Crime further reported that a warrant of arrest against Ms Matias had been issued for illegal diamond exploration.

All equipment used for the diamond exploration were confiscated by Angolan authorities, it added.

The paper said the supposed first daughter of Mr dos Santos was subsequently arrested but later freed on the orders of the Lunda-Norte governor.

It further said Ms Matias was ordered to leave the Protocol State house where she relocated to shortly after she claimed to be the daughter of the retired president in 2010.

The Jornal O Crime said that attempts to contact Ms Matias were futile.

Ms Matias reportedly headed the firm, Cooperativa Jefrim, which exploited diamonds in N´zagi-Cabulo region. The firm had 160 workers and operated a $2 million investment.

Earlier this month, Angolan President João Lourenço fired his predecessor’s son, Mr José Filomeno dos Santos, as the country’s head of the strategic $5 billion sovereign fund.

Angola has extensive diamond reserves, principally in the provinces of Lunda Norte and Lunda Sul in the north-east.

The two provinces share a border with both DR Congo and Congo-Brazzaville.

President Lourenço took over from Mr dos Santos last August, following an election marking the end of a 38-year reign.

The former president had appointed his eldest son as president of Fundo Soberano de Angola in 2013 soon after its creation in October 2012.

President Lourenço also sacked Isabel dos Santos, the former president’s eldest daughter, as the chair of the board of the state-owned oil firm Sonangol. He replaced her with Mr Carlos Saturnino, an oil industry veteran.

President Lourenço has also dismissed a number of the dos Santos kin and allies from key government institutions in a move seen as wrestling control from his predecessor and asserting his authority.

Mr Dos Santos ruled Angola for 38 years and his family and allies still control huge sectors of Africa’s second-largest oil producer.

Ms Matias claimed in September 2010 that she was born when Mr dos Santos was the ruling MPLA party representative in both the Congos and identified her mother as Ms Elisabeth Kaenje.

Biologic father

However, she explained, Mr dos Santos did not register her because he soon went to the Soviet Union (Russia) for studies.

According to the Jornal O Crime, Ms Matias has so far not met with Mr dos Santos, but had contacts with his close relatives.

In September 27, 2010, President dos Santos in an interview with the state-owned TPA, denied that he was Ms Matias's father.

“Josefa Matias’s biologic father is someone else that she has to keep on searching,” he said.

But Jornal O Crime reported that Mr dos Santos acknowledged in private that Ms Matia was his daughter and supported her in return for her silence.

Ms Matias reportedly received more than $50 million, vehicles, accommodation and scholarship for her first son from the Angolan state.

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