It’s a ‘hopeless sleight’, Obi reacts to Pandora Papers claim

Peter Obi: Nigeria is crumbling under Buhari

Peter Obi, a former Anambra State Governor and Peoples Democratic Party Vice Presidential Candidate in the 2019 election, says media reports alleging that he breached Nigerian laws by engaging in secret businesses set up in tax havens are not true.

Premium Times had published series of reports on a 2-year long investigation into offshore accounts by world leaders and businessmen tagged ‘Pandora Papers’. The paper had listed Mr Obi as one of those personalities who set up accounts in tax havens to move their money in order to avoid incurring too much taxes.

Mr Obi, while reacting to the report on Thursday said it was exhilarating that 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.

According to him, the publication did not also allege that he had been engaged in unlawful business ventures at any time whatsoever, adding that his understanding was that the allegation bordered more on tax avoidance and non-declaration of some jointly owned assets.

Obi also wondered if thorough scrutiny and appreciation of all the facts and circumstances surrounding the alleged transactions were made by the writers.

“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,” the former governor said.

According to him, he did not in any way violate any law before, during and after his stewardship as the Governor of Anambra, adding that in all matters relating to his investments and declaration of his personal assets, wherever they may be found, he proceeded, according to professional opinions and advice of investment experts both locally and internationally.

Obi said he also engaged and acted on solicited advice by reputable legal practitioners on whose opinion he relied and urged all well-meaning persons to see through what he called “the hopeless sleight” and ignore the publication.