TJNA’s 4th African Media Training theme, ‘Investigating corruption and illicit financial flows in Africa’ responds to a growing interest on corruption and illicit financial flows fed by a series of financial scandals, key African high level policy documents and regional institutions. Corruption and illicit financial flows in Africa seemed to exit public debate until latest scandals. These include, among others, the ‘Zupta‘ scandal in which South Africa’s former President Jacob Zuma faces accusations of corrupt ties with the Gupta family, eventually leading him to step down in February 2018. Recently high-ranking officials of Cameroon, including the former Minister of Water and Energy, Basile Atangana Kouna, were arrested in anti-corruption crackdown called Operation Sparrow- Hawk and accused of embezzlement of 50 million of CFA Francs (USD 90,966). Other prior breaking news featured the bribery charges around Banana’s Deepwater port project in Democratic Republic of Congo, the Heritage Oil & Gas’ tax avoidance attempts in Uganda in 2016; or in 2016, in Nigeria, the suspicion of 55 people, including about 20 former state governors and ministers, for having stolen USD 6.7 billion of public funds in seven years.
Exposes such as the Panama Papers have proven that corruption is worse and more sophisticated higher up the socio-political ladder. In many countries across the continent, multinationals obtain highly lucrative contracts with conditions such as bribes and significant stocks in the companies demanded from high-ranking officials.
Because of the current dominating opacity of the IFFs networks, media investigations play a key role in exposing dirty money and networks, should those be found, in the first place. Indeed, majority of investigative journalists in Africa identify difficulties in access to information as the main issue when investigating on corruption and IFFs in Africa. The need for skills to interrogate and exploit online information and sources of data comes as the second main concern. Then, turning the collected data into stories told in traditional or digital formats is among the issues flagged. TJNA’s 4th media training on “investigating corruption and illicit financial flows in Africa’’ seeks to fill these gaps and the missing link between investigative stories on corruption and IFFs and concrete policy actions in Africa.
The Africa Media Training Programme is thus designed to reach the following objectives:
- Broaden African media practitioners’ analytical understanding of the dynamics and debates on illicit financial flows, corruption, taxation as well as domestic resource mobilisation.
- Build their skills on news gathering processes in investigative reporting and facts checking techniques on the aforementioned issues.
- Link African editors to experts and institutions in the taxation field as invaluable resources in future coverage of tax matters across the continent and beyond.
- Improve the collaboration with African media in mobilising public opinion behind the tax justice agenda.