Congolese businessman and opponent Sindika Dokolo, son-in-law of former Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, died Thursday, October 29, 2020 in Dubai, where he was the victim of a diving accident, several media reported Friday, citing relatives. He was 48 years old.
He was the son of Augustin Dokolo, the first private banker of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo), and of a Danish mother, Sindika Dokolo had been noticed in 2016 by his fierce opposition against a third term of President Joseph Kabila.
From then on, he was the initiator of the citizen movement Les Congolais Debout, especially active on the internet.
He was a collector of African works of art. He campaigned for these stolen works or objects to be returned to African museums.
Freezing of his assets
A virtual opponent of Kinshasa, Dokolo has thrived in neighboring Angola since his marriage in 2002 to Isabel dos Santos, daughter of the former Angolan president and considered one of the wealthiest women in Africa.
In Angola, since the arrival in power of President João Lourenço, whose main concern is the fight against corruption in the country, he had been caught up by revelations about the opaque financial arrangements of the couple he forms with Isabel dos Santos in various sectors such as oil, cement, distribution, diamonds and telephony. His assets and those of his wife, and those of the former president of the board of directors of the Development Bank of Angola (BFA), Mário Filipe Moreira Leite da Silvas, had been provisionally frozen since December 30, 2019 by the court of Luanda.
A civil judge in Luanda had ordered in December 2019 the freezing of the billionaire couple’s bank accounts and assets in a host of Angolan companies.
In January 2020 an international consortium of investigative journalists (ICIJ) published an investigation entitled the “Luanda Leaks” against Isabel dos Santos, based on the hacking of more than 715,000 confidential documents, for having “siphoned off the country’s coffers”. Immediately the Portuguese justice ordered the freezing of their assets, mainly invested in telephony and banking.
Circumstances of Sindika Dokolo’s death
Police authorities in Dubai have given some indications regarding the death of Sindika Dokolo. 48 years old, the businessman had drowned on October 29th while snorkeling in the north of Deira Island, reports the police cited by AFP. The maritime rescue teams dispatched to the place arrived, but could not avoid the worst.
Sindika Dokolo was not at his first dive. According to testimonies, he was particularly attracted to freediving, which is a form of scuba diving based on the voluntary interruption of ventilation, unlike scuba diving in which the diver breathes a pressurized gas stored in diving cylinders.
His death provoked several reactions in the DRC, both in the opposition and in the ranks of the government.
Course of the funeral of Sindika Dokolo
After the tribute ceremony to Congolese businessman Sindika Dokolo organized on November 5 by his wife Isabel dos Santos in Dubai, where the couple lived and where Dokolo died on October 29, the family of former president José Eduardo dos Santos has planned to organize three simultaneous masses on November 17.
It is on its official facebook page that the biological family has communicated. Three ceremonies will be held on the same Tuesday, November 17:
A Ceremony in tribute to the life of Sindika Dokolo will be held at the National Museum of Congo, in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, at 9 am.
A Ceremony in Memory of Sindika Dokolo will be held in Luanda, Angola at 9:00 am.
Sindika Dokolo’s Funeral Mass will be held at Westminster Cathedral, Roman Catholic Church in London, Great Britain, on 17 November at 10:30 am.