Working in conjunction with Wikileaks, the highly reputable Al Jazeera Investigates goes deep inside a complex and corrupt system with Anatomy of a Bribe. The film weaves a disturbing tale involving high ranking African government officials, large multi-national corporations, and the illegal transfer of millions of dollars to curry political favor.
The corporation in question is Samherji, a large fishing company based in Iceland. The company has been accused of pillaging Africa’s natural resources for their own personal financial gain. They’ve been permitted to do this by paying out large amounts of money to cabinet members and other high ranking officials in Namibia, including the Ministers of Fisheries and Justice. These backdoor deals effectively fatten the wallets of the powerful while only exacerbating the conditions of poverty that a fifth of Namibia’s citizenry live under.
The scandal first came to light thanks to the actions of a brave former employee of Samherji turned whistleblower who could not remain silent in the face of their corrupt practices. His instructions were clear while he was employed with the company: procure African fishing rights by absolutely any means necessary, including through the use of bribes to government officials. Following his break from the company, he sent a series of inflammatory documents to Wikileaks to support his claim, which the Al Jazeera filmmakers have used as the basis of their own investigation during the course of the film.
Africa’s fishing industry is supposed to be highly regulated, and designed to benefit the Namibian economy and its people. Through the use of an undercover agent and hidden camera footage, the filmmakers’ investigation unmasks an operation that rips profits from the region’s citizens and uses it to line the pockets of compromised officials and foreign corporate interests.
The footage captured during the investigation presents and preserves irrefutable evidence of this corruption. Along the way, the investigators spend time with several of the accused, and gain insights into these practices by conversing with the whistleblower who first introduced their corruption publicly.
Anatomy of a Bribe is a typically hard-hitting, studious and bold investigative effort by Al Jazeera.