Angola’s Richest Woman, Isabel dos Santos, Loses High Court Battle Over Frozen Assets

Angola's Richest Woman, Isabel Dos Santos, Loses High Court Battle Over Frozen Assets

Isabel dos Santos, an Angolan billionaire who has been widely regarded as Africa’s wealthiest woman, has suffered a legal setback in the High Court as her attempt to prevent the freezing of her assets has been unsuccessful.

Dos Santos, the daughter of a former Angolan president, is facing a lawsuit from telecoms company Unitel, which is seeking damages amounting to $733 million (£580 million) related to financial decisions she made while serving as a director of the firm.

The case against Dos Santos has been marred by allegations of corruption and exploitation of resources during her involvement with major Angolan companies. Leaked documents obtained by the BBC have implicated her in accumulating her fortune through illicit means.

Dos Santos has vehemently denied the allegations, attributing them to a politically motivated campaign orchestrated by the current Angolan government. She has dismissed the claims as baseless and insisted that they were founded on fabricated documents and false information.

Unitel, in its claim against Dos Santos, focuses on loans granted in 2012 and 2013 totalling around $400 million to a company called Unitel International Holdings (UIH), which is owned and controlled by Dos Santos. The telecoms company alleges that the loans were made at below-market rates and without adequate security, primarily benefiting Dos Santos herself.

Dos Santos has countered Unitel’s allegations, asserting that the loans to UIH were approved by the board and shareholders of Unitel and were made in good faith.

The High Court ruling grants a freezing order in favour of Unitel, and while the specific terms of the order will be determined in a subsequent hearing, it has been reported that Dos Santos’ assets include properties in the United Kingdom valued at up to £33.5 million ($42 million), as well as properties worth $95 million in Monaco and Dubai.

The ongoing legal battle adds to the challenges faced by Dos Santos, who has previously been listed as Africa’s wealthiest woman with an estimated fortune of $2 billion. However, her assets are currently under dispute in multiple jurisdictions, leading to her exclusion from Forbes’ rankings of the world’s wealthiest individuals.

Dos Santos’ case represents a high-profile clash between powerful figures in Angola’s political and business spheres, and its outcome is anticipated with keen interest both within the country and internationally.


Source: BBC

Sentencing Date Adjourned for South African Woman Found Guilty of Murdering Her Three Daughters

Sentencing Date Adjourned For South African Woman Found Guilty Of Murdering Her Three Daughters

The sentencing date for 41-year-old South African woman, Lauren Dickason, who was convicted of murdering her three daughters in September 2020, has been delayed until next year, according to reports from New Zealand media.

Dickason was found guilty in August for the murder of her two-year-old twins, Maya and Karla, and her six-year-old daughter, Liane, at their family home in Timaru, New Zealand. Initially scheduled for December 19, her sentencing date has been adjourned without a specific date set, as reported by The Press.

Although the sentencing has been postponed, Dickason’s case will appear in court again in February. During her five-week-long trial, her mental health was extensively examined, and she was ultimately found guilty of three counts of murder by 11 out of the 12 jurors.

Lauren Dickason, a former medical doctor from Pretoria, arrived in New Zealand with her husband Graham and their three children on August 28, 2020. However, tragedy struck on September 16 when she smothered her three young children to death.

Dickason admitted to the killings but pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and infanticide, with her defence presenting expert witnesses and testimonies from those close to her in support of her plea.

The prosecution in the trial aimed to establish that Dickason acted with intent. Throughout the proceedings, her challenging journey to motherhood, including 17 rounds of IVF and the loss of a baby, played a significant role in the defence’s arguments.

While Dickason has garnered a growing number of supporters, particularly women from around the world who have sent messages of hope and support, her contact with them has been restricted. Currently held at the Hillmorton mental health hospital, Dickason was reportedly barred from sending or receiving letters, according to her supporters and reports from Stuff.NZ.

The adjournment of the sentencing date prolongs the legal proceedings surrounding this tragic case, leaving many awaiting the final outcome and the justice that will be served.


Source: Independent Online SA

Germany Donates €10 Million to WFP to Provide Nutritious Meals to School Children in Sierra Leone

Germany Donates €10 Million To Wfp To Provide Nutritious Meals To School Children In Sierra Leone

The Federal Republic of Germany has pledged a generous donation of €10 million to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) to support the provision of nutritious meals to primary school children in the Karene district of northern Sierra Leone. This significant contribution aims to improve food security, boost local food production, and stimulate the economy while enhancing the well-being of vulnerable children.

Under the German-funded home-grown school meals program, WFP will supply diverse and safe meals to approximately 25,300 pre and primary school children in 115 schools from 2024 to 2028. The meals will be prepared using locally produced food sourced from 8,000 smallholder farmers. By connecting farmers to schools and promoting local agricultural communities, particularly women, the project will create demand for nutritious and diverse food, shorten value chains, and strengthen food systems.

Sierra Leone has been a crucial focus for WFP’s school feeding initiatives, providing meals to 238,000 students across five districts. With this new contribution, the home-grown school feeding program will expand to cover 53,000 pupils, marking a 22 percent increase in early 2024.

Jens Kraus-Massé, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Sierra Leone, emphasized the significance of this contribution, stating, “This contribution shows the commitment of Germany to improving food security in Sierra Leone in line with the Government’s ‘Feed Salone’ initiative.”

Conrad Sackey, Minister of Basic and Senior Secondary Education, expressed his gratitude for the timely funding, highlighting its crucial role in realizing the President’s vision for human capital development. The government of Sierra Leone has prioritized home-grown school feeding as a key component of its National School Feeding Policy, recognizing its potential to induce social and economic development within communities.

Yvonne Forsen, WFP’s Representative and Country Director in Sierra Leone, expressed delight at Germany’s commitment to transforming the lives of vulnerable populations in Sierra Leone. She reaffirmed WFP’s dedication to partnering with organizations to enhance food security, nutrition, livelihoods, and the local economy in the country.

Additionally, in alignment with the Sierra Leonean government’s efforts to address the global climate crisis, a portion of the German funding will be allocated to constructing environmentally friendly kitchens and storerooms, as well as fuel-efficient stoves to reduce the use of firewood.

The United Nations World Food Programme, known as the largest humanitarian organization globally, strives to save lives during emergencies and employs food assistance to establish a pathway to peace, stability, and prosperity for individuals recovering from conflicts, disasters, and the impacts of climate change.


Source: World Food Programme

European Court of Justice Rules UEFA and FIFA Violated EU Law in Super League Case

European Court Of Justice Rules Uefa And Fifa Violated Eu Law In Super League Case

In a groundbreaking ruling on Thursday, the European Court of Justice declared that UEFA and FIFA contravened EU law by obstructing the establishment of a Super League, potentially heralding a transformation in the governance of football.

The decision by the EU’s highest court follows the threat posed by European soccer clubs to form a breakaway league, which sparked widespread outrage among passionate fans. UEFA had issued sanctions as a deterrent, leading to the withdrawal of nine clubs from the proposed project.

According to the ruling, FIFA and UEFA abused their dominant position by prohibiting clubs from participating in a European Super League (ESL). However, the court did not render a verdict specifically on the ESL project itself, leaving its fate undetermined.

UEFA, which has organized pan-European competitions for nearly seven decades, perceives the ESL as a significant threat to the highly lucrative Champions League, in which teams qualify based on merit.

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, and nine other prominent European clubs had announced the formation of the closed ESL in April 2021. However, the venture collapsed within 48 hours due to widespread protests from fans, governments, and players, compelling Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, AC Milan, Inter Milan, and Atletico Madrid to withdraw.

Sports development company A22, established to assist in creating the ESL, argued that UEFA and FIFA held a monopoly position that violated the European Union’s Competition and Free Movement Law.

“We have won the right to compete. The UEFA-monopoly is over. Football is free,” declared A22 CEO Bernd Reichart.

Reichart added, “Clubs are now free from the threat of sanction and free to determine their own futures,” emphasizing the significance of the court’s decision.

UEFA responded by clarifying that the ruling did not signify an endorsement or validation of the Super League. The organization stated that it had addressed a deficiency highlighted within its own framework and expressed confidence in the compliance of its new rules with relevant European laws and regulations.

FIFA has yet to provide a response to the ruling.

The court’s judgment emphasized that FIFA and UEFA must adhere to competition rules and respect freedom of movement, underscoring that their regulations pertaining to approval, control, and sanctions constituted unwarranted constraints on the freedom to provide services.

The ruling does not imply automatic approval for a competition like the Super League project. The court refrained from offering a verdict on the specific project, focusing instead on FIFA and UEFA’s regulations in general.

Following the collapse of the ESL plan, only three clubs persisted with their involvement, but Juventus withdrew earlier this year after the resignation of its former chairman, Andrea Agnelli, a key figure behind the project, and its board in November 2022.

Real Madrid and Barcelona remained determined to proceed with the competition, prompting the ESL to bring their case before a Spanish court, which sought guidance from the European Court in Luxembourg. The Spanish court will now assess the ruling and apply its responses to the facts of the case.

LaLiga, the top professional league in Spain, stated, “Today, more than ever, we reiterate that the ‘Super League’ is a selfish and elitist model.”

Additionally, Belgian soccer club Royal Antwerp challenged UEFA’s rules on homegrown players, and the court determined that these rules could be contrary to EU law.

Simultaneously, the International Skating Union failed in its attempt to overturn an EU antitrust order that prohibited penalizing speed skaters for participating in new, lucrative events.


Source: France24