The Panama Papers

Published on 19th April 2016

Money is not everything. That is true, especially when you do not know where to shop and hide some.Thanks to those doing business in tax haven ways, the world  has come to know of the "Panama Papers," a trove of more than 11 million pages of documents  covering over 40 year and leaked this month.   The business fixer is Mossack Fonseca, a Panama-based law firm fancied in the world of international finance as a facilitator of those who want to create off-the-books shell companies to launder money, dodge sanctions and hide cash from tax authorities.

The documents give a peak to how 143 politicians, including 12 national leaders have used offshore tax havens and other loopholes to avoid tax and sanctions.

The use of offshore facilities is not in itself a crime. But the reason for it may aid and perpetuate a crime.  The raw data is currently in the possession of the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung who are analyzing and publishing the findings.

Looking at it, the  reading  suggests that the powerful, the rich, the famous  and the crooked alike, or in any combination, in both developed and developing countries, advanced democracies and banana republics,  made use of the firm  to establish and manage offshore entities that are crafted to protect capital and minimize taxation.     
To the common man, it has deepened the misery and but titillated the imagination of prospective dodgers. In some places the repercussion has been swift. Such is the furor that Panamanian vice-president, Isabel de Saint Malo, took to the airwaves, admitted the black eye - negative image the country has attracted, and indicated that only 20% of the offshore is in her country. She meant  80% is elsewhere.

So far, it has claimed an investor,  former Iceland  President David Gunnlaugsson, who resigned in a flurry of  outcry by his people. In an unprecedented move by a top British official, Prime Minister David Cameron released his tax returns to stamp  fears, to the effect  that  his papa's use of  the said Panama service is no original sin of his.  But the honeymoon of newly made  President of Argentina's Mauricio Macri is suffering after his name was leaked. He vows to prove his innocence.

Shake ups or the shaken are known in other quarters. For examples: Panama pledged to improve information sharing with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). After India found out that 500 Indians have been have customers of the Panamanian firm,  the government is attending a summoned  OECD meeting.

Governments are trying to see where the lids are. The current wisdom is that  the moment and findings will give vent to popular frustration, further erode confidence in political establishment,   upgrade  government efforts to combat not only tax evasion but also tax dodging and  money laundering, application of more stringent reporting requirements, better international sharing of data, and coordinated cross-border verification and enforcement efforts.    

What is Africa doing?

It is not a consolation that other places are really corrupt. However, Africa is most impacted by corruption given the dire need of resources to finance developments and transformation. The African citizenry is becoming more informed and vexed about the illicit financial flows - the  illegal movements of money from the countries -  which cheat Africa of over $50 billion annually, which is double the Development Aid that Africa receives.

According to a report cited in the Guardian, "the continent lost about $850 billion dollars between 1970 and 2008. An estimated $217.7 billion dollars was illegally transferred out of Nigeria over that period, while Egypt lost $105.2 billion dollars and South Africa more than $81.8 billion dollars."

This  is calamity anyway you slice and slice it. All 3 are in AU's big five league of contributors to its budget.

Some African governments have defended their actions as legit under limited conditions, such as leasing aircraft to ferry dignitaries. Some articulated determination to investigate individual cases.

In the West and around the environs, people are famous for being relatives of  politicians in high places. In Africa, names of twin sisters, nephews, sons, playboys and showgirls relatives  are not examined as original sins of leaders. Even the richest cement guy  is not  a high ranking politician. Politicians draw the most of peoples' invective and a former governor is already in jail in England for other crimes.

The Angolan Petroleum Minister,  the Nigerian Senate President, the Deputy Chief Justice, the Deputy President of Kenya's Supreme Court, the President of the Court of Appeal in Botswana, seem to be the biggest fishes in the cocktail of revelation.
When Temitope Joshua's name was revealed for  having a shell company in British Virgin Islands with the address of the Panamanian law firm, the founder and  overseer of Synagogue Church of All Nations  denied it and quoted the Bible. "Whoever is involved in this malicious write-up and propaganda with an obvious intent to defame my person and the ministry, remember what the Bible says in Luke 2:34 - "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many.....and to be a sign that will be spoken against."

Not to be complacent, to beef up  domestic mobilization, shame  corruption, and come up with the money, the AU is not taking all of this lightly.

By Ms Joe.


Africa Needs Redemption

Remove any doubt from your minds: Every corridor, corner and crack throughout Africa has been and remains Religiously Corrupt!

Nigeria, the continent’s largest oil producer; by some estimates, its previous rulers stole some 3% of the country’s GDP every year. Those billions of petro-dollars could have built a modern Nigeria of good roads, hospitals, and schools. Instead, the money went into small elite’s mansions, cars, and foreign bank accounts.

In 2015, public and private sector research and surveys reveal nearly 75 million people throughout African Nations paid a bribe the previous year for one thing or another. Overall, 58 per cent say bribery and corruption had increased over the past year, compared to 22 per cent who perceived a decline. Across the sub-Saharan region, 64 per cent say their governments are not doing enough to fight corruption, and the biggest irony is that poor people are twice as likely as wealthy people to pay bribes.

Politicians ranging from municipal councilors to MPs and the office of the president are perceived by large numbers of people to be deeply corrupt. Individually, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Sierra Leone are among the top countries where citizens believe corruption to be on the sharp increase. Conversely, Botswana, Lesotho, Senegal and Burkina Faso are among countries where corruption is believed to be declining.

Africa Economic Rise pales in comparison to the rising tides of Educated and Skilled Africans flowing out of Africa, immigrating to the West.

A 2014 United Nations report shows one in nine Africans with a tertiary education—2.9 million people were living in developed countries in Europe, North America and elsewhere. This is a 50% growth in the past 10 years, more than any other region in the world. Between 30%-40% of the estimated 600 doctors who graduate in Kenya annually leave after completing their internship. The number of black immigrants living in the United States has nearly quadrupled since 1980 and is expected to continue to grow, according to a new report that the Pew Research Center in April 2015.

An estimated 3.8 million black immigrants live in the United States, making up nearly 9 percent of the nation’s overall black population, Pew’s analysis of the Census Bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey data revealed. By 2060, the Black immigrant population is projected to triple from what it is today, amounting to about 12 million people, said Mark Hugo Lopez, director of Hispanic research at the Pew Research Center.

Africans coming to America must take off their myopic lens of segregation and colonialism; empty and reset their minds, ridding them of Anglo’s self destructive propaganda.

There is the deep seeded stereotypical, White influenced, African belief that “African- Americans are largely unemployed because they are lazy, love welfare and don’t take advantage of the opportunities in this country.”

White Americans have no more respect for Black Africans than Black Americans; just ask Dr. Bennet Omalu, respected forensic pathologist. “The NFL treated him as just another Nigger; they [NFL] insinuated Dr. Bennet Omalu was not practicing medicine; he was practicing voodoo”…(

By Obede Muchie.

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