Revealing; Peter Obi, His Hidden Offshore Establishments and Breaking the Nigeria Laws
By Nkedirim Chineme (AKA- Onye ntughari uché)
I probably would have ended my discussion on the wickedness of Peter Obi and his selfish excesses that is going to affect my people back home in another four years but it’s obvious the public needed more to ponder on as my concern and thoughts about the future of my people from the Southeast met different reactions.
Truth it’s uniquely said to be bitter. I expected the bitterness to manifest and for sure, it did manifested going by the reactions of what I put in the public space titled ‘Peter Obi Hypnosis on Christians and the Igbo nation; Dangerous and Unfair To Regional Political Trajectories’, am proud to say, more would be made public of a bitter truth about Peter Obi and our regional politics to be pondered on.
Some political analysts, well meaning Nigerians especially some of my brothers from the Southeast saw reasons with me when I said Mr Peter Obi has taken the Southeast region aback following the outcome of the just concluded presidential election.
I waited for the elections to be over, knowing how the most respected messenger of God, Rev. Fr, Mbaka was shut-down by those on the full doses of the hypnosis of Peter Obi during electioneering process. If I had turned in so much reasons why we shouldn’t throw our heart to the ObiDatti movement, people like you would take me to be on the payroll of the All Progressive Congress and possibly tag me with ruling party, scheming to have their way.
We’re grateful to the Almighty, to have concluded the field work of the elections and it’s time to say it as it should be, now it’s still very fresh-on, for us to feel the impulse of the repacultion of putting our eggs in one basket all for the sake of Mr Peter Obi.
However, the elections are over, we will all feel the pains together, but people like ‘Onye ntughari uché’ should be allowed to visit those selfish politicians that are bent on dragging the region of the people of Isreal down.
Politicians from the Southeast region must be told some bitter truth, even though we’re known for our industrious and business capabilities, we should learn how to play politics not by laying our eggs in one basket. Must we always be on the marginalized side, controlled by our misleading decisions and attitudes?
I have no apologies nor regrets for whatever I said about Peter Obi. He hadn’t regards for my region political staggerings. It made no sense, going into a battle we all knew can not scale through, we fail to celebrate such destructive motives championed at the detriment of my people. Like I said in my earlier publication, such attempt was dead on arrival (DoA). It was not favourable because the components of wining elections where not in place. You don’t win election on media, you win election by the value of what you have on ground, anything aside this is failure and that was exactly what Mr Peter Obi got in return, served in the company of those he was able to hypnotize, religious leaders and their congregations were well feed…..
They said Mr Peter Obi is the most Briliant, Sincere and most ready to be Mr President. In my little room I laughed, tried not to join issues with such discussions because I knew we were entertaining new spring outs of youths in their consciousness, joining political discus for the first time, so they really don’t know nor understand how politics works
May I at this juncture, puncture the bobbles of those that saw Mr Peter Obi to be the most trusted, reliable, sincere and what you called the most brilliant of those that made themselves available for the presidential election, with this investigation carried out by PREMIUM TIMES.
“The investigation is part of the global International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ)-led Pandora Papers project.
“The project saw 600 journalists from 150 news organizations around the world poring through a trove of 11.9 million confidential files, contextualizing information, tracking down sources and analyzing public records and other documents.
“The leaked files were retrieved from some offshore services firms around the world that set up shell companies and other offshore entities for clients, many of them influential politicians, businesspersons and criminals, seeking to conceal their financial dealings.
“The two-year collaboration so far revealed the financial secrets of not less than 35 current and former world leaders, more than 330 public officials in more than 91 countries and territories.
“Mr Obi is one of the individuals whose hidden business activities was thrown open by the project. Indeed, he has a number of secret business dealings and relationships that he has for years kept to his chest. These are businesses he clandestinely set up and operated overseas, including in notorious tax and secrecy havens in ways that breached Nigerian laws.”
To what point should a transparent man try to hide an offshore company in other to avoid tax payments?
“Mr Obi has two children- a daughter, Gabriella Nwamaka Frances Obi, and a son, Gregory Peter Oseloka Obi. Sometime in 2010, more than four years after he became governor, the politician developed an appetite to set up his first discreet company in the British Virgin Island. He named the company Gabriella Investments Limited, after his daughter
“To set up what has now become a convoluted business structure, Mr Obi first approached 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 wealthy and privileged corrupt political elites to hide stolen cash to avoid the attention of tax authorities.
“Tax havens are politically and economically stable offshore jurisdictions or countries with extensive laws and systems that provide little or no tax obligations, but enable high secrecy and privacy protection for foreign individuals and businesses.
“Mr Obi also paid Acces International to provide nominee directors for the company. Nominee directors are residents of tax havens paid to sit on boards of companies to hide the identities of real owners of offshore firms.
“So, after accepting a brief from the then governor or his representatives, Acces International officials headed to the British Virgin Island, a notorious tax haven, where it contracted a local registered agent – Aleman Cordero Galindo & Lee Trust (BVI) Limited (Alcogal) — to set up Gabriella Investments Limited for Mr Obi.
“After extensive documentation, Gabriella Investment Limited was born on November 17, 2010, with registration number 1615538. Two figureheads – Antony Janse Van Vuuren and Lance Lawson — were appointed its first directors while ultimate control resided with Mr Obi.
“On the same day the company was incorporated, the nominee directors met and issued 50,000 shares of Gabriella Investment in favour of Hill International Holding Corporation, a shell International Business Company operating under the laws of Belize, another tax haven. The director of the company is Mr Van Vuuren, also one of the directors of Gabriella Investment.”
It is unclear what businesses Mr Obi transacted with the entities but in some communications, they were sometimes referred to as investment vehicles. Mr Obi said that the offshore entity is the holding company for most of his assets and that the business structure he adapted was to enable him to avoid excessive taxation.
Breaking the Law: Number 1
In Nigeria, a person is statutorily obligated to withdraw from engaging in or directing a private business, except if it is farming, upon becoming a public officer, Section Six (6) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act stipulates.
However, investigation, based on records obtained from the UK Companies House shows that Mr Obi continued to be a director of Next International (UK) Limited for 14 months after becoming the governor of Anambra State, thereby breaking Nigeria’s law. The politician resigned from the company on May 16, 2008, 14 months after he assumed duties as Anambra governor. He took office on March 17, 2006.
Mr Obi did not dispute the records but claimed he “resigned immediately” by handing his wife his resignation letter. He suggested that his company might have failed to effect the changes on time or the UK Companies House did not immediately document his exit. But the UK companies registry said Mr Obi indeed resigned on May 16, 2008, and that it received his notice of resignation for electronic filing on June 16, 2008.
Breaking the law: Number 2
Nigerian public officers are required to declare “immediately after taking office and thereafter all” their properties, assets, and liabilities and those of his (or her) unmarried children under the age of eighteen years,” Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution stipulates (Section 11, Part of the Fifth Schedule).
Investigation also found that Mr Obi breached this constitutional provision on assets declaration. We can authoritatively report that Mr Obi did not declare to the Code of Conduct Bureau the companies he tucked away in offshore secrecy havens.
Mr Obi caused to be created for him a structure of secrecy that had previously, until the Pandora Papers investigation, meant he could continue to hold foreign assets in a way that breaches Nigeria’s law without the knowledge of authorities in the country. In an extra layer of secrecy, Mr Obi used paid nominees as directors, while he remains the ultimate beneficial owner, making it nearly impossible to discover his interests in those companies but we obtained rare incorporation documents proving his link.
Otherwise, Mr Obi could have forever hoped to continue to hold the assets, that he did not declare when he had a statutory obligation to do so as a governor, without any authority or the public calling him to account.
In his response, Mr Obi ridiculously suggested that those offshore companies and assets are jointly owned with his family members and that he was not under obligation to declare companies jointly owned. “I don’t declare what is owned with others,” Mr Obi told PREMIUM TIMES. “If my family owns something I won’t declare it. I didn’t declare anything I jointly owed with anyone.”
This is contrary to the position of the Constitution, which specifies the declaration of all assets, whether jointly or partly owned, but Peter Obi said he was not aware of that provision of the law.
Nevertheless, leaked records show Mr Obi is the sole ultimate beneficial owner of the offshore companies. So he did not even jointly own it with anyone.
Mr Obi violated Nigeria’s Code of Conduct law and, was supposed to be arraigned before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, a special court that tries public officers for any contravention of the Code of Conduct for Nigerian public officers as spelt out in the Fifth Schedule of the Nigerian constitution.
Breaking the law: Number 3
The Nigerian constitution and the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act forbid a public officer from maintaining or operating a bank account outside Nigeria. However, as a governor, Mr. Obi continued to operate and maintain foreign accounts, including with Lloyds TSB.
Mr. Obi said he received the advice to create an offshore structure from Lloyds TSB, which then introduced him to intermediaries who helped him to set up com where he continued to operate a foreign account as a governor.
The offenses violate sections of the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended.
In all of this, what makes Mr Peter Obi different from regular politicians that made us stuck our eggs in his basket? To what interest should he hide companies offshore?
Is Peter Obi truly that open and sincere? He is brilliant at subverting the institution of law to his benefits. But he’s the Saint of my people from the Southeast.
Must we always subject the region into fighting a battle it’s end is known from the beginning or are you still not calculative enough to know that Peter Obi was in no way going to win the just concluded presidential election?
The major reasons people from the Southeast threw their heart on Peter Obi was because he’s from the Southeast, a Christian, before considering the painting of his leadership stories that fits into the political playlet of the just concluded election. All I’ve mentioned are elements of sentiments because the 2023 presidential election presented politicians that are rated to have the excellence in government even with much more practical evidence but the hypnosis of Mr Peter Obi, was strong but empty.
Do not be a partaker of this message alone, spread and share to the ends of the nation, even across the border, for the world to know that there are people from this region that are very displeased with the ways and manner our expected to be brilliant politicians like Peter Obi, chose to set us adrift as he took the region into a battle that may consume us for another four year.
Source: Afri Reporters
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