A recent report by the UNCTAD has estimated that Africa loses $88.6 billion annually due to Illicit Financial Flow (IFF) with Nigeria contributing 30%.
This, according to Mboho Eno, Deputy Director, Accountability, Centre for Journalism Innovations and Development (CJID), is a major concern and needs to be addressed by all stakeholders, especially the media. To curb the menace, the experts highlighted several ways and methods that can be used at a one-day training organised by CJID and Torch Light Group for investigative journalists.
Illicit financial flows involve money laundering, bribery by international companies, tax evasion, falsification of business transactions, corruption among others.
What they saying about IFF
Eno said, “We have had in recent years a lot of leaks on how Nigerians hide their wealth in tax havens abroad and how they engaged in illicit financial flows, so, training journalists to understand the implications of IFF will help sustain conversations around it and hasten prosecution.
The Torchlight Group’s project manager, Emeka Ukatu, said the project was to forestall issues driving the youth into drug trafficking and transnational crimes.
While speaking on the key principles for telling data-driven stories, Adedeji Adekunle, the Director of Innovations and Media literacy, CJID, urged reporters to use data to tell stories not to outsource data work unless in complex scenarios.
Adekunle said “Do not outsource data work unless in complex scenario in order not to give wrong data. When doing a story, you need to verify your sources and that’s no different when dealing with documents or data. You have to understand and analyse it yourself to be able to vouch for your findings. It is risky to outsource such tasks due to journalistic accountability and your byline.
“Your analysis also helps build your context and that is a continuous process. So you need to continually query the data. That’s not possible if you separate the data work from the story making.”
Speaking with Nairametrics after the training, the Director, Operations, CJID, Ms Tosin Alagbe said that with the training, investigative journalists are expected to be able to source and use data to investigate illicit financial flow.
“We hope to equip Nigerian journalists with skills to expose illicit financial practices in the country. We want journalists to be able to source and use data to investigate illicit financial flow. We have also shared tips that journalists can use to protect themselves physically and digitally.”
How to expose/curb IFF
- Build contacts across regions, continents and the globe.
- Understand local and international laws.
- Understand how African monies are stolen.
- Forge extensive contacts with law enforcement and anti-corruption agencies in your country and abroad.
- Cultivate local and international anti-corruption NGOs like Tax Justice Network, Transparency International and Global Witness.
- Understand tax havens and Shell companies.
- Pay attention to annual reports, audit reports of Government\Corporate organisations.
- Pat attention to websites of anti-corruption agencies around the world.
- Always investigate payments for acquisitions.
What you should know
- The training was organised by CJID and is aimed at helping investigative journalist strengthen their understanding on reporting illicit financial flows in Nigeria.
- CJID is a non-governmental organisation, founded in 2014, to promote a truly independent media landscape that advances fundamental human rights, good governance and accountability in West Africa through investigative journalism, open data and civic technology.