Two days ago, the largest leak in history broke the internet, overpowering Wikileaks which was once seen as the most effective source for undercover information about world leaders. Our Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who was in fact in court again yesterday regarding his declaration of false assets, was targeted by Panama, who stated that at least four assets belonging to the Saraki family are tucked away in offshore territories. Panama stated that the Senate President failed to declare these assets to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), which is a requirement of the Nigerian Law. According to Premium Times, in a written response to ICIJ, the Senate President insisted, through his UK lawyers, that he “declared his assets properly in accordance with the relevant legislation,” and that the charges against him “are both unfounded and politically motivated.”
Last September the CCB slammed false asset declaration charges on Mr. Saraki, accusing the Senate President, among other things, of failure to declare his assets in full. Under the code of conduct law, a public office holder is required to declare his own assets, those of his wife as well as assets in the names of his children below the age of 18. In his declaration form, Mr. Saraki listed property owned by his wife, Toyin Saraki, to include a plot of land at Lekki valued at N5 million, which he said was a gift he received in January 1989. Mrs. Saraki was also listed as owner of a property at 15 Bryanston Square, London W1 and 69 Bourne Street, London. While the first, which rental income was put at £48,000 with a value of £900,000, was acquired in January 1989, the second, which value was put at £2m and had rental value of £150,000, was acquired for business in April 2000.
The following information regarding the assets of the Saraki family is according to Premium Times:
- The first, Girol Properties Ltd, was registered on August 25, 2004 (a year after Mrs. Saraki’s husband became governor of Nigeria’s north-central state of Kwara) in the British Virgin Island (BVI).
- The second company, Sandon Development Limited, was registered in Seychelles Island on January 12, 2011 and has Mrs. Saraki and Babatunde Morakinyo, (a long-term personal aide and friend of Mr. Saraki) of 11 Okeme Street, Lagos, as shareholders.
- The third hidden company in the name of Mrs. Saraki is Landfield International Developments Ltd., a company registered in the British Virgin Islands on April 8, 2014. It’s registration number is 1819394 while its registered office is 1 Akara Blog., 24 De Castro Street, Wickhams Cay 1, Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Island.
Ownership of Offshore Companies
Laolu Saraki, brother to Senate President Bukola Saraki, also has several footprints in offshore financial havens, documents show. A number of shell companies are connected to the younger Saraki. He is sole shareholder in some of the companies while sharing ownership with some business partners in others. For example, documents show that Laolu is the owner of Polly Capital Holdings Ltd registered in Niue, a small island nation in the South Pacific Ocean.
Another document showed that after some years, Laolu brought in another person as co-owner. The company is now co-owned with a certain Richard Pembroke, who has 25,000 equity shares, just like Laolu. Laolu’s other offshore companies are co-owned with his associates. Among the co-owners are Kojo Annan, son of former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan; Obi Asika; Olufela Ibidapo who are all known figures in Nigeria. Laolu and Kojo Annan hold equal shares of 25,000 in Blue Diamond Holding Management Corp. The duo, along with Mr. Asika, also own Sutton Energy Limited, registered in the British Virgin Island.
Bukola Saraki Responds
Having read what Panama had to say, Bukola Saraki stated that it is no hidden knowledge that his wife comes from a wealthy background and he was not compelled to declare her assets. However, this fresh knowledge may harm his case in court and the assets of your wife are a requirement by the Code of Conduct Law. More information will be provided shortly.