Africa Uncensored, OCCRP Africa win 2019 TRACE awards in investigative reporting

John Allan Namu – Africa Uncensored

A five-person team from Africa Uncensored has received the 2019 TRACE Prize in Vancouver for their investigation “The Profiteers”, which uncovered wartime corruption in East Africa. The team includes John-Allan Namu, Elijah Kanyi, Samuel Munia, Steve Biko and Clement Kumalija.

According to a press release copied to, the annual investigative reporting award recognizes journalism that uncovers business bribery or related financial crime.

“We are very humbled to have won, and to be in the company of this year’s other winners and those who have won before us,” Africa Uncensored co-founder, John-Allan Namu said.

He added, “We hope that our story can help bring the world’s attention to what continues to happen in South Sudan, if only for there to be some respite for the people of South Sudan from the crimes of their elite. We are also very excited to be one of the first two African teams to have won this award.”

The other winning team, Khadija Sharife from the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and Philippe Engels, a freelance, exposed bribery in oil sales in their investigation “The Unlikely Partnership that Unlocked Congo’s Crude.” The story was published by both OCCRP and Médor in English and French, respectively.

OCCRP Africa Editor, Khadija Sharife indicated that, being a journalist is a delusion and a privilege: she said, “we claim the right to question and confront what is told to us as fact but does not ring true; that this truth, if we find it, be placed on record and the record itself, a demand for accountability. But if not, so the delusion goes, we can make life a little bit harder, make them run a little bit faster and make their protectors—those holding power in high places—very, very uncomfortable.”

Honourable mentions were awarded to Aruna Chandrasekhar for her project “Rs 7,410-crore question“, an investigation into an Indian power company’s close ties to the ruling party in Delhi; and the 14-person OCCRP team behind “Tajikistan: Money by Marriage“: Miranda Patrucic, Ilya Lozovsky, Drew Sullivan, Maxim Edwards, Vlad Lavrov, Olga Gein, Bermet Talant, Irene Velska, Katarina Sabados, Sinead Carolan, Eleanor Rose, Lejla Sarcevic and Lejla Camdzic.

“The work of these incredibly brave and talented journalists is critical to exposing corruption at all levels and driving change and good governance,” TRACE President, Alexandra Wrage said.

“The compliance community is grateful to them for their efforts, and to all the investigative journalists who work to uncover corruption,” she added.

The judging panel for the 2019 TRACE Prize for Investigative Reporting included William Gumede, Diana B. Henriques, Rosebell Kagumire, Peter Klein, Donatella Lorch and Jorge Luis Sierra.

By: Asabea Akonor

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