JOHANNESBURG - Oxfam International said on Monday that the "Paradise Papers" exposed the feebleness of attempts to prevent tax evasion, and that political leaders must put the interests of citizens before those of corporates if they were going to stop tax scandals.
This comes after high-profile individuals implicated in allegedly cheating governments out of billions of dollars in tax revenues were named in the leaked Paradise Papers, yielded by a global investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
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This 13.4 million documents leak highlights alleged cases of tax abuse and questionable practices involving multinational companies such as Glencore and Standard Bank, politicians, celebrities, and wealthy executives.
Susana Ruiz, tax policy adviser for Oxfam, said that the Paradise Papers showed how lacking governments' policies to curb tax evasion were.
In a statement, Ruiz said that politicians' tough talk had translated into weak reforms under pressure from big business and the super-rich.
"Tax dodging fuels poverty and inequality. When the super-rich and corporations such as Apple, Nike and Glencore dodge taxes it is ordinary people, and especially the poorest, who pay the price. Corporate tax dodging alone costs poor countries at least US $100 billion every year - enough money to provide an education for 124 million children and prevent the deaths of at least six million children," Ruiz said.
"Political leaders must put the interests of the public over corporates and the super-rich. They must work together to shut down tax havens by establishing a global tax haven blacklist; end tax secrecy so that its clear if corporations and the super-rich pay their fair share of tax; and kickstart a new round of tax reforms that rebuild the tax system in the interests of the majority and not the few."
Ruiz said that governments should also establish national public inquiries into the allegations made by Paradise Papers to identify how national laws can be tightened or reformed to prevent tax dodging.
- African News Agency