Paradise Papers: As Another Offshore Leak Reveals Saraki’s Secret Wealth
|A.B Saraki, President of Nigeria Senate|
President of the Nigerian Senate, Bukola Saraki, is again on the news for the usual wrong reason - false asset declaration and concealing his business interests and wealth from the Nigerian government and law.
The latest exposure by the new offshore leak dubbed #ParadisePapers, would certainly keep the Kwara state politician’s name trending in all strata of the media for sometimes.
The Paradise Papers is second after the Pulitzer Awarded Panama Papers that has also indicted Mr Saraki.
Nigeria’s foremost investigative online newspaper, PREMIUM TIMES is again the only news medium from the largest African country that took part in this recent leak of secret wealth linked to top government officials across the globe.
According to #PREMIUMTIMES’ prelude on the ‘Paradise Papers’, said the 1.4 terabyte data of leaked documents was the toil of “380 journalists from 96 media organisations in 67 countries”.
Paradise Papers is adjudged the biggest leak in history with it 13.4 million records scooped from 1950 to 2016.
The report said “more than 120 politicians and country leaders, in nearly 50 countries as well as hundreds of business people across the world were identified in the record as users of offshore entities”.
In this leak, His Excellency the Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, the man who has vowed to champion the #anti-corruption crusade of the #MuhammaduBuhari administration through robust legislative oversights and formulation of stringent laws, another "offshore shell company".
PREMIUM TIMES said Mr. Saraki “was found to sit on the board of an offshore entity while he was governor and later member of the Nigerian Senate in violation of his country’s code of conduct law”.
It said long before he became Senate President, Saraki “set up Tenia Limited in the Cayman Islands —a notorious tax haven in the Caribbean— in 2001, and ran it until at least 2015 as director and sole shareholder”.
The report could not however ascertain in specific terms what kind of business Mr Saraki uses the the company to transact.
All the same, the report said Saraki had failed to enlist the said firm inCayman Islman when he was filling his assets declaration form at the time he was seeking to become the governor of Kwara in 2003 and in 2007.
Saraki is currently at the Appellate court battling to absolve himself of corruption charges as it relates to his defying the laws that makes it mandatory for persons seeking to occupy public offices to declare their assets both within and outside the shores of the country.
The last leak by Panama Papers exposed least four assets linked to Saraki family. All the four exposed assets were reportedly hidden in secret offshore territories.
While other top public office holders in other countries whose secret wealths were exposed by Panama Papers have either resigned from their offices or are being prosecuted, Nigeria’s Saraki still presides over the nation’s Senate as the number 3 citizen.
Kareem's Pick reports that between 2003 and 2004 when Saraki was serving as governor of #KwaraState, Nigeria ranked as the 14th and 15th most corrupt country in the world.
While public office holders like the Senate President and many others that have not been identified with such massive wealth are busy stashing away their ill-gotten lucre abroad, about 112 million Nigerians (representing 67.1 per cent) of the country’s total population of 167million are wallowing in abject poverty.
With the latest leak on Saraki’s offshore secret interests, which, of course, he concealed by not enlisting it on his Asset Declaration form (ADF), Kareem's Pick asks what would Nigeria do about him?
Though Paradise Papers comes with a proviso that “there are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts, Nigerians would want to know why Saraki fails to mention his secret offshore milk cows while filling his ADF.
Publishers of the Paradise Papers said they “do not intend to suggest or imply that any people, companies or other entities included in the ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database have broken the law or otherwise acted improperly".
According to the consortium of investigative journalists, “many people and entities have the same or similar names”.
“We suggest you confirm the identities of any individuals or entities located in the database based on addresses or other identifiable information”.