From 2001 to 2010, corrupt leaders and their cronies siphoned more than $5.86 trillion from the national economies of developing nations. For every $1 that taxpayers send Africa in development aid, some $10 leaves the continent in illegal cash transfers. This is money that could--and must--be used to build roads, schools, water treatment plants, and hospitals, not to line the pockets of an unaccountable elite.
Thanks to advances in technology and expanding access to public records, we are in an unprecedented position to know and report more than ever before on both the flow of illicit cash and the spending habits of government officials and their friends.
At a time when dictators regularly employ the latest technology to plunder their nations--wiring ill-gotten gains to offshore accounts, buying lavish properties far from their countrymen's eyes, using family and friends to skim a percentage off government contracts--it takes a similarly global effort to challenge that corruption, one that unites the observations and experiences of citizens the world over with the most solid journalistic skills.
Over the last two years, we have built a platform for domestic and international reporting around a towering global issue, where sources can submit--anonymously, if necessary--news tips and evidence of corruption. These become the raw material for stories to be reported and written by our professional journalists, and presented in hard-hitting news reports available to a worldwide audience.