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Pandora Papers

Pandora Papers: Peter Obi Breaks Silence On Failing To Declare Assets, Pay Tax

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The former Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi, has denied the corruption allegations levelled against him by the Pandora Papers.

Recall that the Pandora Papers was created by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) a nonprofit newsroom and network of journalists centred in Washington, D.C., which exposes a global entanglement of political power and secretive offshore finances and dealings.

The Pandora Papers investigation which involved over 600 journalists and over 100 media organisations, accused Obi of setting up companies as fronts for his business activities, and how he changed the name of the company to PMGG.

The former governor is said to have hidden these companies and information about them from the public and the Nigerian government.

But in a statement, he personally signed on Thursday, Obi denied breaching any Nigerian law by engaging in secret businesses set up in tax havens.

He said nowhere in the article was he accused of any form of corruption, whether in the form of diversion of public funds or in any other manner during and after his stewardship as the governor of Anambra State.

Obi added that the publication did not state that he had been engaged in unlawful business ventures at any time whatsoever.

The former governor said that the allegation bordered more on tax avoidance and non-declaration of some jointly owned assets.

He, however, wondered if thorough scrutiny and appreciation of all the facts and circumstances surrounding the alleged transactions were made by the writers.

The statement reads: “On the allegation that I violated the Nigerian Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, as well as sections of the 5th Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), by not declaring any alleged assets in Companies registered outside the Nigerian Federation, I think that the authors displayed ignorance on matters of Trust and International Investment Practices.

“I did not in any respect whatsoever violate any law before, during and after his stewardship as the Governor of Anambra.

“In all matters relating to my investments and declaration of my personal assets, wherever they may be found, I will rely on professional opinions and advice of investment experts both locally and internationally.

“I have also engaged and acted on solicited advice by reputable legal practitioners on whose opinion I relied.

“However, I urged all well-meaning persons to see through what I called “the hopeless sleight and ignore the publication.”

Ige Olugbenga is a fine-grained journalist. He loves the smell of a good lead and has a penchant for finding out something nobody else knows. Gbenga is an alumnus of the prestigious Adekunle Ajasin University, Ondo State and The Polytechnic, Ibadan.