Journalists from Cameroon and Ivory Coast have won Africa’s top fact-checking awards for investigating government claims that turned out to be false.
Manfei Anderson Diedri scooped the francophone award for an eight-month investigation into a land dispute in central Ivory Coast.
Diedri uncovered that while Abidjan claimed it had ownership of 11,000 hectares of land granted to a Belgian company for industrial rubber plantations, which villagers claimed was their property, there was no proof of this.
Cameroon Journalist, Arison Tamfu, was named winner of the award for English-language media for an investigation into a promise by President Paul Biya to gift laptops to “each student of a public or private university in Cameroon”.
His report showed the laptops were in fact netbooks, would not reach the intended recipients, did not cost what was being declared and were not a gift but the result of a loan from China’s EXIM Bank, to be repaid by taxpayers.
Other articles in the running for the prize included a probe into who really bought a new plane for King Mswati III of Swaziland, which the monarch claimed was a gift from anonymous donors.
It turned out the $22.45-million aircraft had been partly bought by a company wholly owned by the king.