Ed is an investigative reporter specialising in undercover journalism, focused on complex international corruption and environmental crime. Whilst at the BBC his work featured on programmes such as Panorama, Newsnight, File on 4 and the national News at Six, and he wrote for publications including the New Statesman and the Mail on Sunday. He then headed up the Forest Investigations team at the international NGO Global Witness for several years. It comprised of six investigative reporters dedicated to exposing the destruction of the world’s most important rainforests in Brazil, the Congo Basin and Papua New Guinea. They took on the rapacious agribusinesses that chop down these precious forests to raise cattle or grow palm oil – often bribing politicians and throwing indigenous people off their land – and the iconic western banks and investment funds system that finance these destructive firms, enabling their behaviour. He is now Special Correspondent for Climate Accountability at the Associated Press, working on a wide range of investigations and environmental issues all across the world, with a particular focus on corporate misbehaviour. Here you can find a selection of his stories and features from the last few years. In the mix with all the hard news are a few bits and pieces on history and travel… and a freaky documentary about voodoo sorcery in Benin he presented on the BBC World Service.
The hand in the photograph belongs to the Porsche-driving boss of a training centre in west London. He is reading answers from a big screen to labourers so they can cheat a test in building safety, thus becoming licensed to work on any site in the country. Construction is the UK’s most deadly industry – during the Afghan war more of our builders were killed than British soldiers. This was one of several firms we busted. The investigation ran as a 13 minute film on Newsnight and as a result of our enquiries 6,000 labourers have been forced to resit fraudulent exams. As the film went to air, the editor of Newsnight tweeted: “If Carlsberg did bad guys they would be this fake safety qualification guy.” Why was he flagrantly putting lives at risk in this way? To paraphrase Fargo: for a little bit of money.
Our investigation exposed the self-styled ‘Reverend’ who believes you can cure everything from aids to Alzheimer’s by making patients swallow doses of bleach – and the US cult-style ‘church of healing’ from which he takes inspiration. I have encountered some wacky characters during my time as a journalist, but this lot took the biscuit. Mind-boggling stuff.
One of my involvements in the case of the corrupt Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman. We revealed claims that employees of his council were threatened with the sack if they did not each illegally obtain 100 votes for the disgraced politician. I was in the High Court to see him face justice – sheer courtroom drama.
In it Dr Naik argued a male testimony is worth that of two females in financial matters. The story was reported prominently in the Daily Telegraph.
Update: Three years on, and nine of the pharmacists we exposed have been banned from practise. The General Pharmaceutical Council used our investigation to appeal for greater powers from the government, and as a result expects to be able to carry out its own covert surveillance of rogue pharmacists. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-35720655
You might think environment-conscious Prince William’s charity would be greener than green with its investment policy. But I revealed the Royal Foundation, which launched the Earthshot Prize, invested with a supposedly ethical fund linked to tropical deforestation through buying dodgy palm oil. The rest of its reserves were invested with the world’s top fossil fuel banker.