Pandora Papers: Peter Obi In Trouble As Law Firm Writes CCB, Demands His Prosecution (DETAILS)
Lawflex, a Lagos-based law firm, has asked the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) to prosecute Peter Obi, the Labour Party’s presidential candidate in the 25 February election, for failing to declare assets stashed in tax havens while serving as state governor.
The firm stated in the letter written on Thursday, signed by Olukoya Ogungbeje and received by the CBB the same day, that its purpose is to bring to the CCB’s attention an investigation conducted by PREMIUM TIMES.
The PREMIUM TIMES 2021 investigation reveals Mr Obi’s investments in infamous tax havens, which he failed to disclose in his mandatory CCB filings both before and after leaving office as governor of Anambra State.
The businesses were established and operated outside of Nigeria, including in notorious tax and secrecy havens, in ways that violated Nigerian laws.
Other prominent Nigerians involved in similar offshore dealings include Stella Oduah, the former Aviation Minister; Mohammed Bello-Koko, the acting Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority; Gboyega Oyetola, the former governor of Osun, and his Kebbi State counterpart, Atiku Bagudu. All of them have denied any wrongdoing.
The law firm said that Mr Obi flouted the code of conduct for Nigerian public officials and urged the CCB to “act appropriately” by arraigning the former governor before the “Code of Conduct Tribunal for contravention of the Code of Conduct for Nigerian Public Officers as spelt out in the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, (As Amended).”
Mr. Peter Obi failed to declare his offshore holdings and assets. He continued to operate and maintain foreign accounts as a governor, including with Lloyds in the United Kingdom.
The former governor admitted that he did not declare these companies, as well as the funds and properties they own, in his asset declaration filings with the Code of Conduct Bureau, a Nigerian government agency that deals with corruption, conflict of interest, and abuse of office by public servants.
He claimed he had no idea the law required him to declare assets or companies he owned with family members or anyone else.
He remained a director of Next International (UK) Limited for 14 months after becoming governor.
Mr Ogungbeje urged the CCB to immediately investigate the violation and invite Mr Obi for questioning.
The lawyer warned that if the CCB refuses to take constitutional action within 30 days, his firm would seek a “judicial review by way of an Order of Mandamus in a court of competent jurisdiction in a bid to compel performance of public duty.”