It has come to our attention that the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), in partnership with l’Express, a local newspaper, has released a report on Mauritius (‘Mauritius Leaks’) on July 23, 2019. By the ICIJ’s own admission, their so-called “investigation” has been based on a USB key that was handed over to them anonymously. It is, therefore, reasonable to assume that the data on the USB key may have been illegally obtained.
Mauritius not used for illegal activities
The ICIJ in its own report admits that the Mauritius International Financial Centre has not been used for the conduct of any illegal activities. Yet the way in which the ICIJ articles have been couched, the headlines that have been used (“Mauritius Siphons tax from poor nations”, “It takes a village to create a Tax Dodge”), the extracts that have been highlighted (“Voila! A new Mauritius Shell Company is born”), together with false information (“What is a GBC1? A vehicle that serves nothing else but to take advantage of tax treaties and to avoid paying taxes”) and information taken out of context susceptibly creates a false perception of wrongdoing.
UNCTAD recognises Mauritius’s contribution to Africa’s FDI
The articles derogatively describe Mauritius as a “tiny Indian Ocean tax haven” supposedly assisting multinational companies to avoid paying tax in Africa. This is a complete fallacy and at best demonstrates that the authors are totally misguided about the role that Mauritius plays in promoting trade and investments into Africa. As an IFC, Mauritius has positively contributed to the growth of many developing nations in the region. By having in place, a proper business facilitated environment englobing a robust legal framework, a pool of skilled workers and stable economy, Mauritius is instrumental in facilitating the flow of quality foreign direct investment (FDI) in Africa. For example, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) World Investment Report 2019, has confirmed that Mauritius is contributing its part to roughly $46bn worth of FDI flowing into Africa in 2018. UNCTAD also recognised the role of Mauritius as actively participating in the development of the continent through Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in various African countries and continuing to innovate in this area. This has resulted in creation of jobs and development of infrastructure and business in these countries. Last but not least, all these businesses in Africa which are the recipient of FDI pay taxes locally, irrespective of whether the investments are being made from Mauritius.