Nigeria’s Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) has declared an interest in the Pandora Papers revelations, regarding Nigerian past and present public officers reported to have owned undeclared assets offshore and expressed a commitment to open investigations.
The CCB is the Nigerian public agency dealing with issues of corruption, conflict of interest, and abuse of office by public servants.
In an October 12 letter, the bureau acknowledged the Pandora Papers project and “what it portends” as well as how the landmark global investigation led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists “has created ripples across the globe.”
The bureau then sought cooperation to facilitate its investigations and “where possible” prosecution of Nigerians involved.
The ICIJ-led Pandora Papers project has exposed some Nigerian former and current governors, lawmakers, and other senior officials, including a judge, as having secret, usually suspicious, financial dealings tucked away in secrecy and tax havens.
“Sadly, it is no longer news that some current and former public officials in Nigeria featured prominently in the acquisition of secret properties, which they failed to declare to the Code of Conduct Bureau as enshrined in the Fifth Schedule to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended,” the Code of Conduct Bureau said in its letter.
“Consequent upon this and also noting your passion for the pursuit of integrity, accountability, and transparent society, the Bureau seeks to partner with you in the area of information sharing to enable it to investigate and where possible prosecute those found guilty at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.”
“The primary motivation for our work is to help the public obtain the information they need to ask questions and make informed decisions and for law enforcement agencies to have the leads they require for necessary actions,” Mr Mojeed said in a letter dated October 18.
Past and current officials exposed in the Pandora Papers series include former Anambra State Governor and former Vice Presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, Peter Obi; acting Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko; and former Minister of Aviation and serving senator, Stella Oduah.
Others are Governor Abubakar Bagudu of Kebbi State, Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State as well as his associates including former Lagos Bola Tinubu, and Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun.
It was also reported the offshore links of the children of former NSA Sambo Dasuki and billionaire Leno Adesanya and a retired senior judge Stella Ogene, who secretly owned an undeclared company which she hid behind to purchase a London property as a serving jurist.
In what is the first known action by any Nigerian law enforcement agency following the Pandora Papers revelations, the anti-corruption agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has summoned Mr Obi for questioning and sources at the agency said investigations would be extended to others in “an ongoing, gradual process.”
It was learnt that President Muhammadu Buhari has requested relevant law enforcement agencies, including the EFCC, the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), and the Code of Conduct Bureau to investigate all Nigerians whose secret dealings were exposed in the Pandora Papers series.