News May 16, 2016 at 08:00 am

Top Tanzanian Politicians Named In Recent #PanamaPapers Leaks

Charles Ayitey | Contributor

Charles Ayitey May 16, 2016 at 08:00 am

May 16, 2016 at 08:00 am | News

(Photo: thecitizen.co.tz)

New documents from the #PanamaPapers leak reveal that about 45 Tanzanian businessmen have offshore accounts in a number of countries.

The named businessmen include Igunga Member of Parliament and Chama Cha Mapunduzi party operative Rostam Aziz, Quality Group Limited CEO Yussuf Manji, politician Abdulaziz Mohamed Abood, and the head of Kilimanjaro Safaris Eric Pasanisi.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists says the findings reveal the ”secret dealings of those who keep their monies in the offshore accounts at the behest of their countries.”

Former member of parliament in Tanzania Rostam Abdulrasul Aziz argues, though, that all 45 businessmen did nothing wrong in owning offshore bank accounts due to the special purpose vehicle (SPV), “a subsidiary company with an asset/liability structure and legal status that makes its obligations secure even if the parent company goes bankrupt” as the best legal justification to their actions.

“I have been retired from politics for the past seven years or so and I have decided to focus on international business,” Aziz told IPPmedia.com. “Therefore it is perfectly legal to have offshore SPVs to invest in the various countries we invest in and in some case it’s a requirement by bankers.”

So far, the Panama papers have revealed the hidden ways some of the world’s richest hide their wealth to avoid paying taxes, participate in fraudulent activity, avoid international sanctions, and/or fuel corruption in their respective countries.

The wealthy who have been identified in the leak are Russian President Vladmir Putin; Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif; President of Ukraine Alaa Mubarak; football players Lionel MessiAndy Cole, Leonardo Ulloa, Willian Borges Da Silva; golfer Tiger Woods; actors Jackie Chan, Emma Watson, and Simon Cowell; and businessmen Donald Trump, Bill Gates, Carlos Ortega, and more.

In Tanzania, the economic outlook has expanded over the past years, with its economy’s foreign-owned banks accounting for almost half (48 percent) of the country’s total banking assets.

Questions abound as to whether these business tycoons and power players are bound to face legal prosecution or remain free.

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