A total of 20 journalists have received grants aimed for investigative reports and research on corruption and tracing of illicit assets.
The grants were provided by the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre) in collaboration with Cornerhouse, Finance Uncovered, Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism and University of Kent, London.
The project is funded by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa and MacArthur Foundation.
A statement by HEDA Resource Centre signed by its Chairman, Mr Olanrewaju Suraju, recalls that earlier in March the consortium had called for application from interested persons for the anti-corruption grant for investigative reporting and research.
At the end of the application process, a total number of 45 applicants expressed their interests in the grant and after review by a technical team, 20 applicants were selected for the grant.
Journalists were selected based on quality of applications submitted, the statement said.
Successful applicants submitted a three-month investigation work-plan, potential total cost of investigation with a realistic and verifiable budget.
The statement said, "The grant for anti-corruption investigative reporting and research is designed to empower journalists, activists, citizens as well as actors within the private and public sectors towards engaging in demand for accountability, probity and transparency through research, monitoring and reporting corruption, money laundering, noxious assets and illicit financial flow in and out of the country."
According to the groups, the aim is to engender sustained awareness and engagement in dealing with corruption issues, illicit financial flow, money laundering and expose inadequacies in the financial system of some of the countries of destination.
The report of the investigation will be published in various newspapers and online media.
The statement added, "The project also hopes to facilitate access to resources (data, personnel, technical and ﬁnancial) for journalists and activists to research, investigate, report, publish and advocate on cases of illicit assets and financial flows."
Suraju said the theft of public assets and resources from developing countries is a huge problem.
Cross-border flow of global proceeds from criminal activities, corruption and tax evasion is estimated at between $1trn and $1.6trn per year, while proceeds of crime associated with bribes received by public officials from developing and transition countries is estimated at $20bn to $40bn per year – a figure equivalent to 20 to 40 per cent of flows of development assistance.
HEDA said the true cost of corruption far exceeds the value of assets stolen by leaders of affected countries.
The groups hope that the grant for anti-corruption investigative reporting and research will empower journalists, activists, citizens as well as actors within the private and public sectors towards engaging in demand for accountability, probity and transparency through research, monitoring and reporting corruption and associated vices.