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Sindika Dokolo, Congolese collector with corruption allegation, is dead

Sindika Dokolo, the famous Congolese art collector, died at the age of 48. According to local news outlets in Angola, he died in Dubai. The cause of death is said to be embolism.

Earlier this year, Dokolo was in the news amidst allegation of massive corruption. Dokolo and his wife, considered one of the richest people in the African continent, found themselves being investigated. It all started with the Luanda Leaks, a cache of 715,000 documents and emails that show how the dos Santos empire reached a worth of $2 billion. The documents alleged that the Dokolo and his wife, who was also the daughter of a former president of Angola, used public money for building their empire.

Dokolo and his wife Isabel

However, the couple had been controversial even before the leak. Isabel Dos Santos was a subject of a corruption enquiry since 2018 by the Angolan government. She moved to the United Kingdom, where she currently lives, and denies all allegations. However, in January, she was found guilty of money laundry and embezzlement. The assets of the couple were also frozen in the same month.

But before corruption scandals saw light, Sindika Dokolo and his wife were one of the most respected names in the African art world. He was known for his repatriation efforts and bringing many artefacts back to their original homes in Africa. Dokolo also personally owner more than 5000 artworks, and had hoped that his collection would help move the African art even further. One of Dokolo’s most famous repatriation efforts was for the Chokwe people in 2015. He identified some items possibly stolen from Angolan museum during the civil war, bought them from French and Belgian collectors, and returned to the Chokwe people.