Prosecution calls for Nigerians named in Panama Papers
Current, former politicians' offshore investments identified in potential contravention of Nigerian law.
LAGOS, Nigeria (AA) - Senior Nigerian figures named in the Panama Papers should be investigated, leading civil society figures said Sunday.
The revelations from the records of Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca have shown that several Nigerian politicians have been involved in offshore financial arrangements. Nigerian law forbids officials from operating offshore accounts while in office.
In a letter to Sam Saba, head of the Code of Conduct Bureau, revealed Sunday, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project called for his agency to “urgently investigate current and immediate past high-ranking public officers named in the Panama Papers” and “refer such officers to the Code of Conduct Tribunal for prosecution.”
Among the 11.5 million files leaked last week were documents relating to Senate President Bukola Saraki, who is currently on trial for corruption; his predecessor Senator David Mark; James Ibori, a former governor of the oil-rich Delta State who is serving a jail term in the U.K.; and former Defense Minister Theophilus Danjuma.
Saraki, Mark and Ibori are said to have invested in offshore funds while still in office and without declaring the transactions - transgressions that could see them barred from public office in Nigeria and the funds confiscated.
Femi Falana, a leading civil rights lawyer, also called for prosecutions. “These officials are liable for prosecution because their actions violate the Code of Conduct law,” he told Anadolu Agency.
“The onus is on them to prove that these properties are proceeds from their legitimate earnings. Not declaring it is another big offense.”