Posted by News Express | 6 April 2016 | 3,602 times
Nigeria’s immediate past Senate President, David Mark, has links to at least eight offshore shell companies while holding public office, in violation of a federal code of conduct law, a massive leak of files belonging to Mossack Fonseca, a law firm in Panama, shows.
The files showed how Mossack Fonseca, reputed as one of the most secretive companies in the world, helped clients register offshore entities, some of which are then used to launder money, evade tax and dodge sanctions. They also provide details of the hidden financial dealings of 128 more politicians and public officials around the world, including in Nigeria. The trove of 11.5 million files shows how a global industry of law firms and big banks sells financial secrecy to politicians, fraudsters and drug traffickers as well as billionaires, celebrities and sports stars. The revelations are among the findings of a lengthy investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, German newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung, and more than 100 other global news organizations.
As a former Senate President, Mark stands out among other notable Nigerians named in the files. Mark and his secret companies The Mosseca Fonseca database shows that Mark is one of Nigeria’s most extensive users of offshore shell companies, even while being a public official. In documents, Mark was linked to eight active companies registered in the British Virgin Island. They are Sikera Overseas S.A, Colsan Enterprises Limited, Goldwin Transworld Limited, Hartland Estates Limited, Marlin Holdings Limited, Medley Holdings Limited, Quetta Properties Limited, and Centenary Holdings Limited.
In the documents, Mark was repeatedly marked as a politically exposed person, and at a point the former Senate President had to send documents, across to Mosseca Fonseca to prove that he was clean. It remains unclear what businesses Mark is conducting with the companies. While not all owners or operators of such offshore entities are criminals, owning or maintaining interest in private companies while serving as a public official is against Nigerian laws.
The #PanamaPapers had on Monday exposed Mr. Mark’s colleague in the Senate, Bukola Saraki, as failing to declare at least four assets belonging to his wife, all tucked away in secret offshore territories, as required by Nigerian laws.
I don’t know where this is coming from, it’s political —Mark
However, Mark said, yesterday, that he was not sure of the accuracy of claims linking him to having at least eight offshore shell companies while in office, which amounted to a violation of a federal code of conduct law. Special Assistant, Media, to Senator David Mark, Paul Mumeh, said: “I’m not sure about the accuracy of your claims, we know where that may be coming from, it is political.”
•Text courtesy of Vanguard. Photo shows Senator David Mark.
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