Umm Muhammed Umar
An international conglomerate of journalists has named a number of African leaders as covertly owning assets abroad. Some of them have been exposed as being tremendously wealthy, in contrast to their peoples.
According to AllAfrica News the ‘Pandora Papers’ have revealed the financial secrets of at least 35 current and former world leaders and more than 330 public officials in more than 91 countries and territories.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ ‘Pandora Papers’ project has revealed that Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s family hold bank accounts and real estate in the United Kingdom and Hong Kong, worth more than $30 million. Meanwhile, prominent Nigerians, including a former Chief Justice and state governors have been shown to have established shell companies, often with vast financial resources, in international tax havens, such as the British Virgin Islands. Further, shareholders in shell companies have included President Ali Bongo of Gabon, and President Denis Sassou-Nguesso of the Republic of the Congo.
AllAfrica reports that the investigations are based on almost 12 million financial records, leaked from 14 offshore enterprises which assist the wealthy to establish and maintain shell companies and trusts in tax havens, globally.
Importantly, the Pandora Papers, do not reveal whether some leaders are still involved in shell companies, nor, ironically, do they automatically indicate wrongdoing. The main focus of the project seems to be to underscore how the rich and the powerful are able to keep their wealth and activities a secret from the general public.