July 6, 2009
Monique Perry Danziger, +1 202 293 0740 ext. 222
WASHINGTON, DC – Global Financial Integrity (GFI) has joined international civil society groups in calling for vigilance in the case of Cameroonian journalist Jean-Bosco Talla, who has been the subject of threats and intimidation for his part in an investigation into government corruption and thievery of national assets.
Following publication of the report “Biens mal acquis” or “Ill-Gotten Gains,” by the French non-profit organization Catholic Committee against Hunger and for Development (CCFD) last month, Mr. Talla, editor of the Cameroonian newspaper Germinal, has been harassed and his life has been threatened. The report presents estimates for assets stolen by 30 heads of state during the past 50 years, including Cameroon’s President Paul Biya. The report also draws upon GFI research of illicit financial outflows from developing countries which found that Cameroon lost an estimated $842 million per year to illicit financial practices, including government corruption.
“The case of Mr. Talla and the report on ‘Ill-Gotten Gains’ demonstrates how corruption can entail more than just thievery of a country’s wealth; it can also entail coercion, repression, and violence,” said GFI director Raymond Baker. “This is truly one of the most detestable elements of an overarching problem.”
According to the international watchdog group, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Cameroon is the second most frequent jailor of journalists in Africa.