A Global Money Laundering Scandal Has Named Peter Obi
He established hidden businesses abroad and refused to disclose them as assets.
By Omotayo Olutekunbi
Peter Obi, a former governor of Anambra State, has been identified in a worldwide tax fraud scam that has been investigated by more than 600 journalists from 117 countries.
Pandora Papers is the name of the investigation.
According to the BBC, the “Pandora Papers” is a “leak of almost 12 million papers that reveals hidden wealth, tax avoidance, and, in some cases, money laundering by some of the world’s rich and powerful.”
Pandora Papers reveal how wealthy and influential individuals from throughout the world, including more than 330 politicians from 90 countries, launder money by establishing corporations in tax havens such as the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, and Switzerland.
These locations are known as ‘tax havens’ because it is simple to establish a company there. The regulations there make it difficult to identify company owners, and there is little or no corporation tax in their governments.
Peter Obi established a business named Gabriella Investments Limited in the British Virgin Islands, according to Premium Times, a Nigerian magazine that was part of the worldwide investigation under the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) in Washington DC.
Gabriella Investments Limited was named after his daughter Gabriella Nwamaka.
Obi initially sought Acces International, a secrecy enabler in Monaco, France, to assist him in forming an offshore corporation in one of the world’s most known tax havens, according to the online daily.
The local registered agent, Aleman Cordero Galindo & Lee Trust (BVI) Limited (Alcogal), was then hired by Acces International to establish up Gabriella Investments Limited for Obi.
On November 17, 2010, Gabriella Investment Limited was established.
The nominated directors met on the same day the business was established and issued 50,000 Gabriella Investment shares to Hill International Holding Corporation, a shell International Business Company operating under the rules of Belize, another tax haven.
Mr. Van Vuuren, who is also a director of Gabriella Investment, is the company’s director.
Change of name and violation of Nigerian laws
P for Peter (ex-governor), M for Margaret (the ex-wife), governor’s G for Gabriella (the ex-daughter), governor’s and G for Gregory (the ex-son) governor’s make up PMGG Investments Limited, which is a combination of the first letters of Obi’s nuclear family’s first names.
Obi has also established The Gabriella Settlement, a trust incorporated in the British Virgin Islands.
PMGG Investments is owned entirely by the Gabriella Settlement.
Obi also formed a new business, Next International (UK) Limited, in London on May 16, 1996.
When a person becomes a public officer in Nigeria, he or she is required by law to cease operating in or directing a private company, as specified in Section Six (6) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act.
Obi left Next International on May 16, 2008, 14 months after taking office as Governor of Anambra.
Obi also broke Section 11 of the 1999 constitution (as modified), which requires public officials to report their holdings, assets, and liabilities, as well as those of their unmarried children under the age of eighteen, “immediately after taking office and thereafter all.”
Obi did not report the firms he hid in offshore secrecy havens to the Code of Conduct Bureau, according to investigations.
“I am sure you too will not like to pay inheritance tax if you can avoid it,” Obi told Premium Times when asked about his offshore holdings and shell businesses.
In the 2019 general elections, Obi, 60, ran as the PDP’s vice presidential candidate.
Every other day on prime time television, he preaches austerity, parsimony, anti-corruption, lean governments, and probity.
He also previously informed the public that he only had one timepiece, despite photos of him wearing many brands of expensive wristwatches at various events.
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