April 2012 news update

Dear members of the FAIR network,

In Easter spirit of new things starting to bloom, FAIR is starting a
monthly note for our friends and supporters. This is of course long
overdue, since you have been of such great help to FAIR and our
mission of more and better investigative journalism in Africa – many
of you since its foundation in 2003.

We can only apologise for what may sometimes have looked like long
silences, when we were busy growing internally or concentrating on
finalizing investigations under at times difficult circumstances.

One of the things we were busy with was bringing FAIR, formerly a
rather makeshift network of individuals, up to the level of a
fully-fledged, formally managed, organisation with efficient
operational headquarters. The first comprehensive audit of FAIR as
such an organisation can be found here:

This first news note will cover the first quarter of 2012. Next ones
will cover only one month and will therefore be shorter. However,
never mind the length, we hope to be able to appraise you, with every
issue, of new investigations going on in Africa and the activities of
FAIR to support same.

We do hope that this new initiative will help to (continue to) inspire
you to stay with us on our journey to ‘dig deeper, aim higher, find
more truths’, as our motto goes.

In our next note: look forward to a report on our West African
regional conference in Dakar, Senegal, this coming weekend 16-18
April. (see below)

So here’s what we have been up to:

The individual investigations:

How criminal gangs rule in Eastleigh, Kenya

The Somali refugee neighbourhood of Eastleigh in Nairobi, Kenya, is
ruled by gangs and warlords. Kassim Mohamed infiltrated and
documented. Read the story here:


Undercover at Ghana’s largest teaching hospital

Zack Ohemeng Tawiah stopped an avoidable death at Komfo Anokye
Hospital in Kumasi, Ghana, whilst investigating unexplained equipment


Land grabbing in Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s Andualem Sisay and Nigeria’s Emmanuel Mayah investigated
and exposed local elite’s selling off land to foreign investors for
food cultivation –whilst local people don’t have enough food:


Housing scandal in Malawi

Theresa Chapulapula of Daily Times in Blantyre, Malawi, had a
government official fired after exposing a housing scandal, where
houses were sold to fellow government officials at highly discounted
prices. She completed the successful series through assistance from
FAIR’s peer mentor Charles Rukuni. Check:


Behind Nigeria’s N2 trillion fuel subsidy

Theophilus Abbah’s Sunday Trust in Nigeria exposed the real causes of
the recent ‘fuel riots’ in that country: a major racket involving a
mafia at the highest level, of which Nigeria’s population has just
about had enough:


Fighting secrecy in Uganda

Uganda’s Charles Mwanguhya and Angelo Izama continue their battle to
uncover their countries oil contracts with US company Tullow, and now
reached court (again) with the support of 6 civil society


Government theft in Mozambique

Mozambique’s Estacio Valoi exposed the disappearance of foreign
investment moneys from provincial government coffers:

http://fairreporters.net/tag/zambezia/ (in Portuguese).

The Transnational Investigations:

A West African team is preparing to investigate the unfair aspects of
what is commonly known as ‘fair trade’. An initial story focusing on
the cocoa industry in Ivory Coast exposed a ‘fair trade mafia’ and led
to threats against author Selay Kouassi. As a response, FAIR decided
to turn the ‘fair trade’ story into its new Arizona Project. Countries
to be covered are Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast and possibly Cameroon.

After Al Shabaab in Somalia, Boko Haram rose up in Nigeria and there
is even talk of ‘Al Qaeda’ in Mali and the Sahel. How serious is the
terror and how is the war against it doing? Yet another FAIR TI in the
pipeline. Or another Arizona project, seeing that our Boko
Haram-specialist Ahmad Salkida has now been physically attacked. More
to follow.

The cross border investigations:

Al Jazeera’s ‘Africa investigates’ worked with FAIR members to produce
documentaries on timber corruption in Sierra Leone, gold scams in
Ghana, albino murders in Tanzania and other subjects. Find the
documentaries here:


ZAM Magazine (formerly Netherlands-only, now international), invited
FAIR’s award winner Idris Akinbajo for a temporary residence in
Amsterdam to investigate global issues together with Dutch colleagues.
This has so far led to investigative stories published both in Nigeria
and the Netherlands on Shell in Nigeria (Premium Times in Nigeria and
Financial Mail in the Netherlands) and the African diaspora (Premium
Times and Netherlands Press Service GPD).

Cross border stories on Dutch milk and chicken exports to Nigeria and
European agricultural subsidies are still in the pipeline. For the
‘chicken’ story, Dutch TV broadcaster NOS will work with Ghanaian FAIR
member Zack Ohemeng Tawiah. Radio Netherlands will start a partnership
with FAIR Award winner news site Premium Times in Nigeria

Swiss Wochenzeitung has approached FAIR in East Africa for assistance
with investigative reporting in Sudan.

French publisher l’Harmattan has commissioned an investigative book on
the Kabila regime’s corruption in the DRC, to be written by former
FAIR chairman Eric Mwamba

Mwamba is to produce a series of investigative articles in the same
subject for the Belgian magazine Mo*.

FAIR members’ voices:

ZAM Magazine’s debating evening ‘Searching for truth in and on Africa’
in Amsterdam featured FAIR Ivory Coasts’ Selay Kouassi as well as FAIR
award winner Idris Akinbajo.

Dutch daily Trouw has invited Kouassi and Akinbajo for interviews

In its latest issue, ZAM Magazine features Kassim Mohameds take on the
conflict in Somalia.

FAIR’s Dutch sister organization, GIJN member VVOJ, hosted Idris
Akinbajo as a guest speaker both at their national conference in
Eindhoven and in a special debating session for members in Amsterdam.

Akinbajo also spoke at a lecture session held by the Africa Study
Centre in Leiden, the Netherlands

The awards:

The FAIR Awards 2011 went to:

Winner: Last minute oil deals that cost Nigeria dear, by Idris
Akinbajo and Peter Nkanga

Runner up: Police officers cited in cases of missing young men,
Kipchumba Some (Kenya)

And the Editors’ Courage Award went to Musikilu Mojeed of Next, Nigeria

See: http://fairreporters.net/awards/fair-awards-2011/

The conferences


The GIJC’s African daughter, the African IJ Conference co-hosted by
FAIR in cooperation with Wits university in Johannesburg, highlighted
new crowdsourcing initiatives in Nigeria (nigeriapolicewatch.com),
land grab and food issues, and China in Africa. Check here for a
round-up of speakers and their subjects:



The regional southern African IJ conference focused on recent
investigations and corruption expose’s involving local political
elites in Angola, Mozambique, Malawi, South Africa and other countries
in the region. Andrew Trench of South Africa’s Media 24 wowed with his
datamining presentation. Angolans and Mozambicans presented their less
CAR, and more ‘on-foot’ investigations. The conference brought
lusophones and anglophones closer together.


Investigations into a resurgence of barter trade in Cameroon,
undercover investigations in Ghana, human organ trafficking in Benin,
and Boko Haram and oil corruption in Nigeria are among the
presentation eagerly awaited at the upcoming FAIR West Africa
Conference (16-18 April) in Dakar, Senegal.


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