diving mishap

Angola: Isabel dos Santos’s husband, Sindika Dokolo, dies in accident

By Stanis Bujakera Tshiamala

Posted on October 30, 2020 12:27

Portugal Angola © Sindika Dokolo and his wife Isabel dos Santos arrive for a ceremony at the City Hall in Porto, Portugal on March 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Paulo Duarte)
Sindika Dokolo and his wife Isabel dos Santos arrive for a ceremony at the City Hall in Porto, Portugal on March 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Paulo Duarte)

The Democratic Republic of Congo-born businessman and art collector Sindika Dokolo died on 29 October in a diving accident.

Sindika Dokolo died on Thursday, 29 October in Dubai, where he resided, in a diving accident. Several family members confirmed the information.

A cultured dandy and shrewd businessman, Dokolo was also a keen observer of the regional political scene. He was 48 years old.

He married Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of Angola’s former president, José Eduardo dos Santos (in office from 1979 to 2017), in 2002.

Intelligent and ambitious

Dokolo was also the son of the businessman Augustin Dokolo Sanu, from whom he inherited his fortune after his death in 2001. Alongside his wife, Hanne Kruse, a Danish national he married in 1968, the Mukongo patriarch built one of the largest economic empires – including his crown jewel, the Bank of Kinshasa – in Zaire under Mobutu Sese Seko’s rule.

Dokolo grew up between Africa and Europe. Intelligent and ambitious, he made a career and fortune alongside his wife Isabel in various sectors, including oil, diamonds (through De Grisogono), retail, cement and telecommunications. An art collector, he advocated for repatriating looted artworks to African museums.

In 2017, as Joseph Kabila’s term of office was coming to an end and he continued to maintain an aura of mystery surrounding his intentions, Dokolo founded the grassroots movement “Congolais debout” (Congolese, stand up) and financially backed other organisations and figures close to the opposition.

Luanda Leaks

Dokolo’s wife had recently fallen into the crosshairs of courts in Angola and Portugal, where the couple’s assets, estimated at several billions of dollars, are frozen.

READ MORE Angola exposé: The money chase

At the start of 2020, the Luanda Leaks investigation also exposed secrets regarding the couple’s financial empire. In August, his wife’s half-brother, José Filomeno dos Santos, was sentenced to five years in prison for fraud, money laundering and influence peddling in relation to a plan to set up an investment fund several months before his father stood down as president of Angola.

Tributes to Dokolo began pouring in on social media, with several figures recalling his fight to “establish the rule of law” in the DRC and his activism in favour of respect for African identity.

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