* President names billionaire daughter CEO of Sonangol
* Rights lawyers say appointment violates probity law
* Apply for Constitutional Court hearing
By Herculano Coroado
LUANDA, Jan 4 Angolan lawyers, who argue that
President Jose Eduardo dos Santos' billionaire daughter was
illegally appointed as the chief executive of the state oil
company, have applied for their case to be heard in the
Angola's Supreme Court on Dec. 27 rejected an application by
12 human rights lawyers to have Isabel dos Santos removed as the
head of Sonangol, which handles the oil and gas reserves of
Africa's largest oil exporter.
The lawyers, who accuse the president of nepotism and
violating Angolan probity law, asked the Supreme Court on
Tuesday to allow the Constitutional Court to hear an appeal
against its ruling.
"We have filed an extraordinary appeal at the Supreme Court,
who transit the process to the Constitutional Court," said David
Mendes, one of the attorneys.
"Nobody should get advantage based on their origin."
Mendes and the 11 other lawyers also argue that the seven
months taken by the Supreme Court to come to a decision break
guidelines on prompt rulings.
However, Jose Carlos, a lawyer not among the 12, thinks it
will be difficult to prove any illegality by the president.
"The authors of the appeal would have to be clear and deep
to prove the unconstitutionality of the appointment, which would
be a surprise and very unlikely to be found," Carlos said.
Ranked as Africa's richest woman by Forbes magazine, Isabel
Dos Santos, 43, was given the job in June, prompting critics to
accuse the president of trying to control state resources.
Dos Santos, 74, has been in power since 1979 and is one of
Africa's longest serving leaders. He says he will step down in
Watchdog group Transparency International ranked Angola 163
out of 168 countries in its index of perceived corruption in the
public sector, and said it had "minimal" budget openness.
Isabel dos Santos says she was given the job because of her
business acumen, and she has pledged to root out waste and
corruption at a company that was struggling to stay afloat even
before oil prices plunged.
She holds controlling stakes in several companies in Angola
and former colonial ruler Portugal, including energy, mobile
telecoms and banking sector investments.
(Writing by Joe Brock; Editing by Louise Ireland)