A group under the auspices of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has attributed dearth of investigative reporting to reasons why nobody has been indicted in the Panama and Paradise paper scam till date.
Beyond this, the group also said the development accounts for why corrupt officials in government even though they have been proven beyond reasonable doubt to be dubious, still stay put in office and frustrate investigations.
Auwal Musa, Executive Director, CISLAC, said this, while giving an overview of effects of corruption at a one day training of journalist in monitoring and reporting money laundering cases in Nigeria.
He said though media has been instrumental in revealing massive corruption scandals within and outside the government, thereby helping to spark mass action and increasing demand for transparency in government, unfortunately, these investigations and report have not attracted commensurate sanctions and convictions.
Recall that the famous Panama Papers are 11.5 million leaked documents that detail financial and attorney–client information for more than 214,488 offshore entities. The documents, some of which dates back to the 1970s, were created by, and taken from, Panamanian law firm and corporate service provider Mossack Fonseca and were leaked in 2015 by an anonymous source.
The documents contain personal financial information about wealthy individuals and public officials that had previously been kept private.
While offshore business entities are legal, reporters found that some of the Mossack Fonseca shell corporations were used for illegal purposes, including fraud, tax evasion, and evading international sanctions.
The training programme also revealed that no fewer than $50 billion dollars are laundered out of Africa to safe havens on annual basis, a situation that contributes to under-development in the continent.
Musa said, “Though the media have been instrumental in revealing massive corruption scandals in Panama and Paradise papers, which included hundreds of Nigerians from all walks of life that were hiding money in tax havens.
“Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to witness any consequences through dismissals, investigations or let alone prosecutions, while in other countries, leading politically exposed persons had to leave offices, in Nigeria these individuals are celebrated. We have to ask ourselves, why is it so?