June 20, 2024

Pandora Papers Receive Global Award

3 min read

Pandora Papers Receive Global Award For lifting the Lid on Secret Deals and Hidden Assets in Offshore Accounts.

The Malcolm Forbes Award 2021 was given to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) for publishing the famous Pandora Papers report.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) published a study in October 2021 that revealed secret dealings and concealed assets in offshore accounts in Panama and the British Virgin Islands.

Forbes Magazine sponsored the prize, which went to the Washington Post, Miami Herald, and over 150 other media partners.

The scale, complexity, and impact of the effort, which toppled leaders and sparked legislation to combat money laundering, were said to have pleased the judges.

Pandora Papers brought together journalists from dozens of news organizations to rummage through a treasure trove of more than 11 million leaked documents showing how money and power operate in the 21st century.

“Their work looked at how hundreds of government officials and wealthy individuals hid their assets in offshore havens from the British Virgin Islands to more surprisingly, places like South Dakota,” the event organizers, the Overseas Press Club of America announced. 

“The ICIJ obtained a trove of 11.9 million confidential files and led a team of more than 600 journalists from 150 news outlets that spent two years sifting through them” Fergus Shiel, the Managing Editor at ICIJ stated while receiving the award.

Veteran Kenyan investigative journalist John-Allan Namu, through his organisation Africa Uncensored, led in unmasking the confidential information in the country. 

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Of interest to Kenyans, was President Uhuru’s family which was extensively mentioned in the report which alleged that it hid nearly Ksh3 billion in offshore accounts.

“Documents show that the expansion of the Kenyattas’ offshore holdings coincided with Uhuru Kenyatta’s political rise, with increasing the layers of secrecy to shield the family’s wealth from scrutiny even as Uhuru solidified his role as a man of the people” the report read in part.

The Pandora Papers report, however, did not show any evidence of corruption or state assets being stolen or hidden in tax havens by the President’s family.

It further acknowledged that is not illegal to own offshore accounts. 

Allan Namu’s attempt to reach out to the Kenyatta family for a rebuttal proved futile.

President Uhuru Kenyatta issued a statement via a press conference and promised to speak more extensively about the report at a later date.

“We reached out to the Kenyatta’s for comment over their use of offshore entities. None of the family members mentioned in this report responded to our queries” the African Uncensored reported.

Uhuru, nonetheless, issued a response via a media briefing and promised to speak on the report in detail, at a later date. 

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