By Rose Onda
Peter Obi, a former governor of Anambra, says he has not broken any law over his refusal to declare, while in office, assets he co-owned as international investments.
Leaked files, which were retrieved from 14 offshore service firms around the world and revealed in a Pandora Papers project led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), and which Premium Times is a part of, had shown how the former governor failed to declare assets kept in tax havens.
In 2010, more than three years after Obi became governor, he reportedly set up his first discreet company in the British Virgin Islands, and named the company Gabriella Investments Limited — after his daughter.
The former governor reportedly first approached Acces International, a secrecy enabler in Monaco, France, to help him incorporate an offshore entity.
He was also said to have been a director of Next International (UK) Limited for 14 months after becoming the governor of Anambra state.
Meanwhile, according to the law, section 6 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act stipulates that public office holders cannot engage in or direct a private business, except if it is farming.
But Obi was said to have resigned from the company on May 16, 2008, which was 14 months after he assumed office as Anambra governor.
Reacting, Obi said the report doesn’t reflect international investment practices.
“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,” he said.
Obi added that in all matters relating to his investments and declaration of his personal assets, wherever they may be found, he acted in line with professional opinions and the advice of local and international investment experts.
He added that he also engaged and acted on solicited advice by reputable legal practitioners, on whose opinions he relied.