The leaked Panama Papers continue to have heavy implications for the international community showing how deep corruption can run as wealthy individuals and even those in government look to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. Now it seems the corruption has extended to Africa with corruption in Rwanda outlined within the documents. Allegedly, top members of the government gained access to private jets through funds from an offshore company.
Unlike in other countries, this is not a huge revelation in Rwanda where utilization of offshore accounts for such purposes is widespread and well known. It’s also important to note that Rwanda is run by a dictator in President Paul Kagame, and thus. there are no stories regarding these latest revelations in their media. In a statement, the government explained this as “ . . . a special purpose vehicle to secure strategic services, at a time when the government was operating under very restrictive conditions.” It’s a similar situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where the President has threatened legal action if the media were to publish names of those suspected.
As the revelations within the Panama Papers continue to grab headlines in Europe and North America, it’s important to take note of how such news is handled in these African countries. It’s an excellent reminder of how valuable freedom of the press is, which we often take for granted. While citizens in Rwanda are practically resigned to accepting such actions, it is far more of a scandal in Western countries where the media is free to call out corruption and name those who are guilty.