Hidden in 11.5 million leaked secret files are the details of the hidden wealth of the world’s most prominent people. 140 politicians from over 50 countries have been exposed by one of the biggest leaks of records from Mossack Fonseca a Panama law firm. They detail how the firm has helped its clients to evade taxes and launder money. Among some of the dirty shenanigans is the creation of shell companies so as to hide owners of money, the origin and ultimately avoid paying tax on the money. The documents were obtained by the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung which shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). The leak is the biggest in history and 107 media companies spent a year analysing the documents for a year. Among the many public figures are 18 popular African figures some whose brief profiles have been featured here.
Ahmad Ali al-Mirghani
(President of Sudan 1986-1989)
Ahmad was a democratically elected leader of Sudan until his overthrow by incumbent Omar al-Bashir in June 1989. After the coup, he fled to Egypt where he remained until his death.
(Son of former United Nations Secretary General
Kojo, the only son to Kofi Annan, started working as a consultant for Cotecna in early 1998. Soon after, the United Nations awarded the firm a contract as part of the Oil –for-Food program in Iraq. This raised eyebrows but no evidence was found pertaining the accusations that Kojo used his family relations to benefit.
Zambian Ambassador to the U.S (2000-2002)
Shansonga is no stranger to controversy as he was arrested in Lusaka, Zambia, in 2002 on counts of diversion of millions o dollars out of Zambia. He fled the country but was accused of receiving misappropriated funds and laundering the loot using offshore accounts. Attempts by Zambia to extradite Shansonga have all failed.
Former Rwandan Chief of Intelligence (Brigadier General 2015-present)
Ndahiro has always been Rwandan President, Kagame’s right hand man, He has served as Presidential physican, adviser and spokesman.Ndahiro led Rwanda’s Intelligence from 2004-2011.
(Governor of Delta State)
He was the governor of an oil rich state in Nigeria from 1999 to 2007. He pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to defraud and launder money. Ibori admitted to diverting $75 million out of Nigeria through a network of offshore companies but authorities claim the number could have easily been around $250 million.
(Egyptian Former President Hosni Mubarak’s Son)
Alaa is the eldest son of ousted former Premier of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak. He also happens to be a wealthy businessman who has been accused of embezzling millions of dollars of state funds intended for renovation of palaces. Alaa, his brother Gama and their father were arrested on charges of embezzlement and convicted with a sentence of three years after the Egyptian uprising.
Clive Khulubise Zuma
South African President, Jacob Zuma’s nephew
Clive is a mining mogul with a life many South Africans can only dream of. In 2015, he was held responsible for the loss of 5,000 jobs due to a gold mining company’s business failure. He was chairman of the company but in his court submissions he denied responsibility.
Former President of Guinea, Lansana Conte’s widow
Mamadie seems to have fully exploited her relation to Lansana, dictator president of Guinea from 1984 to 2008. U.S. authorities allege she received $5.3 million worth of bribes to help a mining company obtain rights to the world’s richest iron ore deposits. In 2014, U.S authorities raided her Florida home and seized property worth $1 million.
These figures are only part of the greater list of African men and women who have hidden their wealth in the tax havens, mostly stealing from their nations in the process. Exposing eighteen is scrapping the surface of a deeper pool of looters and tax evaders. However, some business ventures are legitimate and have unfortunately been caught up in the scandalous expositions. The full list is available on the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) website.