04/04/2016

Panama Papers Africa

Arena / By ZAM reporter

A worldwide investigative journalism project uncovers offshore wealth tucked away by world leaders, including African presidents and their relatives.

A massive leak from a Panama-based law firm has exposed the private wealth of many world leaders across the globe. An investigation into the leaked papers by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) shows that law firm Mossack Fonseca assisted the likes of former Nigerian governor James Ibori, current head of the Nigerian senate Bukola Saraki, former Sudanese president Ahmed al-Mirghani, Algeria’s former mining minister Abdeslam Bouchouareb, Angolan oil minister Botelho de Vasconcelos and South African president Jacob Zuma’s nephew Khulubuse to hide away cash in tax-proof offshore accounts.

Among the African leaders’ fellow tax evaders and secret government dealers are Russian president Vladimir Putin, the president of Ukraine, the prime minister of Iceland and the King of Saudi Arabia. African investigative journalists -including African Investigative Publishing Collective member the Premium Times in Nigeria and the southern African investigative Amabhungane centre -were among the four hundred journalists belonging to over a hundred media organisations who worked for a year scrutinizing the leak which was initially received by the Sueddeutsche Zeitung in Germany.

With South African president Jacob Zuma already in international spotlight because of a Constitutional Court order to him to pay back tax moneys used to ‘pimp’ his private home in Nkandla, the Zuma family is once again named in connection with ill-gotten wealth. The Panama Papers show Zuma’s nephew Khulubuse Zuma as the man behind off shore company Caprikat Ltd, which benefited of an over 100 billion Rand (almost US$ 7 billion) oil deal in the DRC. Media reports in South Africa said that the deal followed shortly after president Zuma had visited his Congolese counterpart Kabila, whose twin sister’s off shore account also features in the files.