Angola: The Dos Santos family’s private property

President José Eduardo dos Santos has been transferring state resources to the private ownership of his family so openly that there is only one possible conclusion: Angola is the private property of the Dos Santos family.

On 19 May 2014, Petroleum Minister José Botelho de Vasconcelos signed Executive Decree no. 159/14, which transferred 10 percent of the shares held by Sonangol P&P (the Research and Production subsidiary of the National Oil Company) in the oil exploration Bloc 4/05 to a company called Prodoil, owned by the president’s youngest sister, Marta dos Santos. The minister did this on the basis of “powers delegated by the President of the Republic …)”.

As a result of the transfer, the exploration bloc’s shareholding now comprises Sonangol P&P (40%), Statoil (20%), Somoil (15%), Acrep (15%) e Prodoil (10%).

The first time the president gave his sister a gift of oil exploration shares was on 27 October 2006. With Decree no. 82/06, the government ordered Sonangol to include Prodoil among its partners in exploring bloc 1/06.


Prodoil was created as a company on 9 November 2001 by Marsanto – Pesca e sua Industrialização, Importação e Exportação Limitada (Marsanto – Fishing and Fish Processing, Import and Export) and with a  token shareholding by Prodiaman, a company owned by Pedro Godinho e de Arlindo Fernando da Costa.  Marsanto itself was incorporated on 17 December 1996 by Edson dos Santos Sousa and Esmeralda dos Santos Sousa, the president’s nephew and niece and the children of his sister Marta dos Santos and her husband José Pacavira Narciso. Narciso, José Eduardo dos Santos’s brother-in-law, has been chairman of Prodoil since 2001.

Maka Angola has pointed out that the final approval of any petroleum contract, whether put to public tender or not, is the responsibility of the President of the Republic. In five years the president’s relatives have, through Marsanto, received enough to set themselves up royally in the petroleum business. After Isabel dos Santos started her business career while still a child by selling eggs, as she herself stated publicly, now we see how her aunt Marta dos Santos and her children are achieving their own business success through what looks like a miracle of loaves and fishes.

Government complicity

Four related questions are puzzling many Angolan citizens.


How can the president act in such a flagrantly greedy manner in illicitly transferring state assets to the private ownership of his family, without members of his own regime advising caution or speaking out against the moves?

With so many allegations of corruption and the abuse of power against him, how can the president sleep easily without fearing that he will end his days in jail?

Has his family not already acquired enough wealth to last them for generations to come?

What has happened to the zero tolerance policy on corruption that the very same president announced in 2009?

These are questions to which citizens who are aware and concerned with the way the country is governed, whatever their political affiliation or social status, must demand answers.