The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) received the Luanda Leaks documents from the Platform to Protect Whistleblowers in Africa (PPLAAF).
Founded in 2017 by lawyers, anti-corruption activists and investigative journalists, PPLAAF – French acronym for Plateforme de Protection des Lanceurs d’Alerte en Afrique – works to protect whistleblowers in Africa from retaliation.
To the same end, it lobbies governments to introduce and strengthen legislation to shield people who disclose information about wrongdoing in the public interest.
PPLAAF co-founder, veteran French human rights lawyer William Bourdon, told a recent ICIJ conference in Paris that protecting whistleblowers should be a duty for every government and society.
“Their sacrifice, their courage is crucial in opening the eyes of the world to the huge, complex, underground threats to the public interest,” he said.
Their sacrifice, their courage is crucial in opening the eyes of the world to the huge, complex, underground threats to the public interest.
– PPLAAF co-founder William Bourdon
Bourdon, who has represented Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, Hervé Falciani (Swiss Leaks) and Antoine Deltour (Lux Leaks) detailed the “enormous risks” faced by whistleblowers throughout the world, emphasizing that in many African countries the government and/or military often controls the judiciary.
He told the conference that the material for Luanda Leaks likely came from several sources.
PPLAAF’s co-founder Henri Thuliez told the conference that the documents must be placed in a wider context than their subject matter – this is a global story of how Western democracies, reputable companies and consultants colluded to rob a country blind.
“Here we have a precise example of someone with a fortune who went to different enablers to determine the best way to make money and then hide it. These leaked documents are relevant for all of us,” he said.