The Panama Papers investigation, a series of global investigations spanning over a year by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalist, ICIJ, German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung and 100 other media organisations across the world, including PREMIUM TIMES has been awarded The Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting.
The 2.6 TB files, involving 214,488 entities were obtained from leaked data held by Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm that specialises in creating offshore companies, some of which have been used by some con men and women to hide Ponzi schemes, and other financial fraud from authorities.
The Panama Papers investigation exposed offshore companies linked to more than 140 politicians, politically exposed persons and corporate bigwigs in more than 50 countries.
PREMIUM TIMES was the only Nigerian news organisation granted direct access to the files. Our reporting exposed the secret offshore asset of Senate President Bukola Saraki and his wife Toyin. It also revealed the offshore asset of Mr. Saraki’s predecessor, David Mark.
Other explosive revelations from PREMIUM TIMES the Panama Papers investigations are how late governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, began looting his state and hiding the funds in offshore structures and how a former governor of Delta State, James Ibori, organised the stealing of the oil-rich state’s fund via offshore companies.
It also revealed a network of shell companies in offshore tax havens linked to Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, and his brother, Sayyu Dantata as well as the offshore companies of Wale Tinubu, the chief executive of Nigeria’s biggest indigenous oil company, Oando Plc, among others.
The stories also exposed the secret offshore company of one of Africa’s most influential televangelists, Temitope Joshua, popularly called T.B Joshua.
“This honour is a testament to the enterprise and teamwork of our staff and our partners here in the United States and around the world,” Gerard Ryle, ICIJ’s director, said.
“We’re honoured that the Pulitzer Board recognised the groundbreaking revelations and worldwide impact that the Panama Papers collaboration produced,” he added.
The Pulitzer Prize, regarded as the most prestigious award in American journalism, marks its 100th year this year. It honours exceptional journalism in categories ranging from breaking news, feature writing to reporting on public service.
Mr. Ryle praised the global collaborative effort of the investigation. He noted that after German journalists, Bastian Obermayer and Frederik Obermaier received the original leak, instead of hoarding it for themselves and their newspaper, they shared the trove of 11.5 million documents with the ICIJ, which then used its cross-border network of journalists and media organisations to investigate the documents.