ICIJ Begins Spell Of Investigative Stories From The Pandora Papers

-Ghanaian Politicians Missing.

More than 600 journalists from 117 countries, including Ghana, have flooded global news headlines with stories from dirty files that they have been trawling through for months to assemble a humongous paper trail of hidden wealth by the world’s rich and powerful.

The spell is nicknamed the ‘Pandora Papers’ promising juicy revelations about how the world’s powerful secret money to tax havens. Already, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has been named in the leaks.

However, unlike, previous leaks like the Panama Papers, no Ghanaian politician or businessman has been named yet in the report extracted from over 2.5 terabytes of data and documents gleaned by the international consortium of journalists.

According to the ICIJ, The Pandora Papers is a leak of almost 12 million documents that reveals hidden wealth, tax avoidance and, in some cases, money laundering by some of the world’s rich and powerful.

“More than 600 journalists in 117 countries have been trawling through the files from 14 sources for months, finding stories that are being published this week,” the report published a day ago read.

The data was obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in Washington DC, which has been working with more than 140 media organisations on its biggest ever global investigation.

BBC Panorama and the Guardian have led the investigation in the UK, while, journalists like Emannuel K. Dogbevi of GhanaBusinessnews.com from Ghana was on call.

The Pandora Papers leak includes 6.4 million documents, almost three million images, more than a million emails and almost half a million spreadsheets, according to a report by the BBC.

It says the files expose how some of the most powerful people in the world – including more than 330 politicians from 90 countries – use secret offshore companies to hide their wealth.

Among others, the family of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta features prominently for secretly owning a network of offshore companies for decades.

Among the featured snippets is that of the  King of Jordan who went on a £70m spending spree on properties in the UK and US through secretly-owned companies; Azerbaijan’s leading family’s hidden involvement in property deals in the UK worth more than £400m and; the Czech Prime Minister’s failure to declare an offshore investment company used to purchase two French villas for £12m, among several others.

The upcoming spell of revealing corruption stories is not the first of its kind; in 2016, the Panama Papers dominated headlines.

The documents were released on April 3, 2016, by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ), dubbing them the “Panama Papers.” The document exposed the network of more than 214,000 tax havens involving people and entities from 200 different nations.

It led to calls for political leaders to tighten financial laws to make it more difficult for the rich and powerful to hide wealth. However, according to the BBC, the revelations in the Pandora Papers show those called upon to ensure sanity are themselves beneficiaries of the loopholes.

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