FACT CHECK: Did Pandora Papers Expose Ernest Koroma For Owing a House in Bahamas And Swiss Bank Account With $1 Billion?

VIRAL CLAIM: Pandora Papers said Sierra Leone’s former President Ernest Bai Koroma owns a house in Bahamas worth 7 million dollars with an account in Swiss Bank worth $1 Billion.

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Background

A massive global investigation has exposed the ties between world leaders to the hidden world of offshore wealth collectively worth trillions of dollars.

Dubbed the Pandora Papers, the landmark probe, published on Sunday, was conducted by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) – an ensemble of 600 journalists from 150 media outlets in 117 countries.

Digging into more than 11.9 million documents leaked from 14 offshore financial services firms, the ICIJ found that 35 heads of state and government and more than 300 politicians have set up offshore structures and trusts in tax havens from the British Virgin Islands, Seychelles, to Hong Kong and Belize.

In addition to the politicians and heads of states, singer Shakira and former Indian cricket captain Sachin Tendulkar are among celebrities and sport stars named in the investigation.

African Spotlight

Rich and influential people continue to use the offshore financial system to dodge taxes and launder money.  Politicians across Africa have been implicated in the growing Pandora Papers scandal that jarringly reflects the inequality gap on the continent. Officials from Angola, Nigeria, South Africa and other countries will be responding to the backlash as the ICIJ and its partners expose opaque deals.

The reports revealed that 78 politicians across the African continent had offshore companies in secrecy jurisdictions. The most important include:

Uhuru Kenyatta, president of Kenya

⚫ Denis Sassou Nguesso, president of the Republic of the Congo

⚫ Ali Bongo Ondimba, president of Gabon

⚫ Patrick Achi, prime minister of the Ivory Coast

⚫ Jim Muhwezi, security minister of Uganda

⚫ Aires Ali, former prime minister of Mozambique

Sierra Leone Spotlight

While a total number of 78 politicians were mentioned across the African continent, it is noteworthy that no politician in Sierra Leone was listed in the report. The only  mention of Sierra Leone was seen in Monte Oro Resources and Energy which is said to have set up an offshore company for an exploration project in Sierra Leone.

Conclusion

There is no evidence to show that Sierra Leone’s former President Ernest Bai Koroma owns a house in Bahamas worth 7 million dollars with an account in Swiss Bank worth $1 Billion. Accordingly, the claim is FALSE.

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