Revelations by media partners as part of the Paradise Papers have exposed the offshore dealings of some of Africa’s most powerful politicians and most profitable companies.
More than a dozen journalists from eight African countries participated in the Paradise Papers, a global investigation of 381 journalists who spent up to 12 months poring over 13.5 million records from offshore businesses and company registries.
Newspapers across the continent ran stories about local politicians and companies found in the Paradise Papers leak.
In South Africa, details about an Isle of Man trust linked to former president Nelson Mandela have emerged from documents that outlined a legal battle waged over the trust’s million-dollar bank accounts after Mandela’s death. Separately, major retail, medical and mining companies, including some with ties to South Africa’s Vice President, Cyril Ramaphosa, came under scrutiny for using offshore structures.
In Nigeria, a civil society organization urged the country’s Code of Conduct Bureau to investigate Senate President Bukola Saraki for false declaration of assets. The organization alleges that Saraki did not disclose his interests in a Cayman Islands company during his political career.
In Namibia, the Namibian reported that the country’s finance ministry was already investigating tax evasion in the fishing industry following The Namibian, ICIJ and BBC reporting about the mackerel company Pacific Andes. Namibia was also pressing forward with its request to renegotiate a tax treaty with Mauritius, according to the report.
Uganda’s powerful foreign minister and the former United Nations General Assembly President, Sam Kutesa, responded to revelations that he set up a trust in the Seychelles, a secretive island nation off Africa’s east coast. “I thought you could avoid, not evade, taxes but I found it was not practical,” Kutesa told ICIJ’s media partner The Daily Monitor. He said he did nothing with the company.
In Algeria, ICIJ member Lyas Hallas discovered a trust in the Cayman Islands of senator and liberation movement leader, Yacef Saidi. Other revelations included the offshore shareholdings and Pacific Islands trusts of a former energy minister and family members of a former foreign minister.
In Angola, the opposition party called for a parliamentary probe into the country’s sovereign wealth fund after revelations from the Paradise Papers that the fund’s investment manager moved millions of dollars offshore.