#Panama Papers: Nigerian Culprits above the Law

The leak of 11.5million documents, being internal data of Panama-based offshore provider  Mossack Fonseca, has revealed how individuals use tax havens to hide their wealth. Global outrage has followed the ‘Panama Papers’ leak, involving a cache of secret financial records of politicians, businessmen, celebrities, drug traffickers and sports stars.

PREMIUM TIMES of Nigeria has so far identified over 130 names of former and serving Nigerian officials and businessmen who have been implicated in investigations into the papers from the Central American nation. They include retired army general Theophilus Danjuma; former group managing director of NNPC Funsho Kupolokun; Senate president Bukola Saraki, and his wife Toyin; former Senate president David Mark; former Delta State governor James Ibori; Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote, and his brother Sayyu Dantata.

The German newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung, first published the leak which has been shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) composed of PREMIUM TIMES and over 100 other media partners in 82 countries.

Dangote, Mark and Saraki have been struggling to deny their culpability – without success. Danjuma has said nothing.

The revelations are likely to keep trending in the social media for most of this year. They are a challenge to Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency, EFCC, which has its hands full already. Besides, those implicated are literally above Nigerian law.

The prime minister of Iceland, Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson, resigned from office after he was implicated. Some other people have also resigned. Saraki, Nigeria’s Senate president, has come under pressure to resign. But Nigerians are not used to resigning.

Nigerians convicted for the illicit financial flows could be regarded as the most powerful and influential people in the country. Despite calls for their prosecution, they are not likely to be touched by the APC government that has promised to fight corruption. The Muhammadu Buhari government has not issued a statement on the “Panama Papers”.



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