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Staggering sums of oil money missing in Angola, rights group reports

12/28/2011, 2:21 p.m.
Staggering sums of oil money missing in Angola, rights group reports

Dec. 27 (GIN) - Some $34 billion in oil revenues linked to Angola's state oil company Sonangol have disappeared, according to the watchdog Human Rights Watch which is demanding an investigation from the president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

The latest revelation comes the same week that Angola announced yet another huge offshore oil find and after deals were signed Tuesday with seven major oil companies to drill there.

The New York-based rights group said the missing money was identified in a new December report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which found that the government funds were spent or transferred from 2007 through 2010 without being properly documented in the budget.

It must be assumed, that the missing oil billions have been transferred into foreign investments, mainly in those of the family of Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos and his daughter Isabel dos Santos, asserted HRW.

Sonangal has been singled out since at least 2002 for losing track of billions of dollars when it "stopped channeling foreign currency receipts through the central bank as mandated by the law," the IMF found.

"While ordinary Angolans suffered through a profound humanitarian crisis, their government oversaw the suspicious disappearance of a truly colossal sum of money," declared Arvind Ganesan, director of the New York-based group's business and human rights program.

Angola's government must account for a staggering $32 billion missing from state coffers in a country where most suffer immense poverty despite the nation's massive oil wealth, Human Rights Watch said Wednesday.

Sonangol has over 30 subsidiaries in banking, gas, real estate, telecoms, air transport and just won rights to develop Iraq's Najmah oilfield.