At least 10 Nigerian politicians have been indicted in the ‘Pandora Papers’ — a fresh leak of massive financial documents by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ).
The leaks which were released on Sunday exposed financial secrets and offshore dealings of over 330 heads of state, public officials and politicians from 91 countries and territories.
The leaked details which obtained information from over 11.9 million confidential files, was complied by more than 600 journalists from 150 news organisations around the world.
A report by a member of the consortium in Nigeria — Premium Times — has said some influential Nigerians, including a former Chief Justice of Nigeria, current and former state governors, past and present lawmakers, businesspeople, a popular pastor, were indicted all in the Pandora Papers. They were revealed to have set up companies, warehouses, huge financial assets, in secret jurisdictions.
Among the indicted politicians is former Anambra State governor Peter Obi. The former governor was alleged to have engaged in hidden business activities across the world.
According to the report, Obi was indicted over failure to declare his assets in full to Nigeria’s Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).
The report also disclosed that Obi allegedly set up his first discreet company in the British Virgin Island, and named the company Gabriella Investments Limited, after his daughter. The former governor was alleged to have contracted Acces International, a secrecy enabler in Monaco, France, to help him incorporate an offshore entity in one of the world’s most notorious tax havens noted for providing conduits for the wealthy and privileged corrupt political elites to hide stolen cash.
Obi, however, claimed he could not have made such a declaration on assets he co-owned with others.
“I don’t declare what is owned with others. If my family owns something I won’t declare it. I didn’t declare anything I jointly owed with anyone,” he reportedly said while reacting to the report.
Also indicted by the report is the family of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.
According to the Pandora Papers, the family of the Kenyatta has been accumulating a fortune in offshore tax havens for decades. The report revealed that the family owned at least seven entities based in the British Virgin Islands and Panama, with a total of over $30 million.
Former British prime minister Tony Blair, who has been critical of tax loopholes, was also indicted and said to have legally avoided paying stamp duty on a multi-million-pound property in London.
Members of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s inner circle, including cabinet ministers and their families, are said to secretly own companies and trusts holding millions of dollars.