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How Peter Obi Used Fronts To Set Up Companies Overseas – Report

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Pandora Papers Didn't Accuse Me Of Stealing - Peter Obi

A report of an investigation has revealed how a former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, set up companies using fronts and hiding them from the public and government in Nigeria.

The report by Premium Times in collaboration with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) a nonprofit newsroom and network of journalists centered in Washington, D.C., tagged the Pandora Papers on Monday laid bare a global entanglement of political power and secretive offshore finances and dealings.

According to the report, the former governor is involved in a number of dealings which comprise money laundering and the establishment of companies with fronts in order to avoid detection by Nigerian authorities.

“Indeed, he has a number of secret business dealings and relationships that he has for years kept to his chest. These are businesses he clandestinely set up and operated overseas, including in notorious tax and secrecy havens in ways that breached Nigerian laws,” the Pandora Papers stated.

READ ALSO: Nigerians Getting Poorer Because Govt Borrowing For Wrong Reasons -Peter Obi

In an alleged admission, the report stated that “The former governor admitted that he did not declare these companies and the funds and properties they hold in his asset declaration filings with the Code of Conduct Bureau, the Nigerian government agency that deals with the issues of corruption, conflict of interest, and abuse of office by public servants.

“He said he was unaware that the law expected him to declare assets or companies he jointly owns with his family members or anyone else.”

The report further alleged how Peter Obi established a company — named after his daughter — as a front for his business activities.

“The politician developed an appetite to set up his first discreet company in the British Virgin Island. He named the company Gabriella Investments Limited, after his daughter.

“To set up what has now become a convoluted business structure, Mr Obi first approached Access International, a secrecy enabler in Monaco, France, to help him incorporate an offshore entity in one of the world’s most notorious tax havens noted for providing conduits for wealthy and privileged corrupt political elites to hide stolen cash to avoid the attention of tax authorities,” the report explained.

In his defence, Peter Obi told Premium Times that “The offshore entity is the holding company for most of his assets and that the business structure he adapted was to enable him to avoid excessive taxation.

“I am sure you too will not like to pay inheritance tax if you can avoid it,” he clarified.

The investigation further revealed that these offences “violate sections of the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended.”

Nonetheless, the former governor said “he was more concerned about his U.K. and U.S. schools alumni network, his business and foreign creditors” in response to questions about these alleged shady dealings.

Meanwhile, Jordanian authorities say the Pandora Papers’ claims threaten royal family’s safety.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Won’t Develop As Govt Respects Bandits More Than Intellectuals – Obi

The ‘Pandora Papers’ is an investigation based on one of the biggest-ever leaks of financial documents which, on Sunday, exposed a hidden world of shielded wealth belonging to hundreds of politicians and billionaires.

Considered as one of the largest ever global media investigations, the Pandora Papers involved more than 600 journalists who, together, analysed some 11.9 million documents from financial services companies around the world.

They found links between almost 1,000 companies in offshore havens and 336 high-level politicians and public officials, including more than a dozen serving heads of state and government.

Jordan’s royal court Monday rejected as “distorted” claims made in the so-called Pandora Papers that King Abdullah II created a network of offshore companies to build a $100 million overseas property empire.

It said that the reports “included inaccuracies and distorted and exaggerated the facts”, and that revealing the properties’ addresses was “a flagrant security breach and a threat to His Majesty’s and his family’s safety”.

The files show King Abdullah II, who has faced angry protests against austerity measures in recent years, created a network of offshore companies and tax havens to amass a $100 million property empire between 2003 and 2017, including 15 homes from Malibu, California to Washington and London.

The Jordanian embassy in Washington declined to comment, but the BBC cited lawyers for the king saying all the properties were bought with personal wealth, and that it was common practice for high profile individuals to purchase properties via offshore companies for privacy and security reasons.

 

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Why Millions Of COVID-19 Vaccines Expired – Govt

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Why Millions Of COVID-19 Vaccines Expired - Govt

The Federal Government has explained why some COVID-19 vaccines in the country have expired and they were not used.

The Federal Ministry of Health said on Wednesday that some of the vaccine doses which were given by donors had residual shelf lives.

The ministry made this clarification following a report published by Reuters, which stated that over one million doses of coronavirus vaccines were expired in the country last month.

However, the country’s health ministry in a statement by the minister in charge, Osagie Ehanire, explained that the vaccines which were received in form of donations through COVAX and AVATT facility had residual shelf lives leaving the country with a limited period to facilitate distribution and usage.

READ ALSO: One Million COVID-19 Vaccines Expire In Nigeria

The statement partly read : “The attention of the Federal Ministry of Health has been drawn to reports circulating in the media to the effect that some COVID-19 vaccines had expired in Nigeria.

“This press statement is to properly brief the public and set records right. Nigeria has, of late, enjoyed the generosity of several, mainly European countries, who have offered us doses of COVID-19 vaccines out of their stockpiles, free of charge, through COVAX or AVAT facility.

“These donations are always acknowledged and thankfully received. However, some of them had residual shelf lives of only a few months that left us a very short time – some just weeks – to use them, after deduction of time to transport, clear, distribute and deliver to users. If such vaccines arrive back-to-back or are many, logistic bottlenecks occasionally arise.

“We appreciate the kind gesture of donors, but also communicated the challenge of short shelf lives, whereupon some manufacturers offered to extend the vaccine shelf life after the fact, by three months; a practice that, though accepted by experts, is declined by the Federal Ministry of Health, because it is not accommodated in our standards.”

The ministry stated that the dilemma is not typical to Nigeria, but a situation in which many low- and medium-income countries find themselves.

It said: “Donors also recognise a need to give away unused vaccines, before they expire in their own stock, but they need to begin the process early enough and create a well-oiled pathway for prompt shipment and distribution through the COVAX and AVAT facilities, to reduce risk of expiration. With better coordination, vaccines need not expire in the stock of donors or recipients.

“Nigeria has utilized most of the over 10m short-shelf-life doses of Covid-19 vaccines so far supplied to us, in good time, and saved N16.4B or more than $40m in foreign exchange. The vaccines that expired had been withdrawn before then and will be destroyed accordingly by NAFDAC.

“The Ministry of Health shares its experience with partners regularly and now politely declines all vaccine donations with short shelf life or those that cannot be delivered in time.

“The long-term measure to prevent such incident is for Nigeria to produce its own vaccines so that vaccines produced to have at least 12 months to expiration. This is why the Federal Ministry of Health is collaborating with stakeholders to fast-track the establishment of indigenous vaccine manufacturing capacity. This is a goal we are pursuing with dedication.”

 

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Police Arrest Three Housemasters, Five Pupils Of Dowen College Over Dead Pupil

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Police Arrest Three Housemasters, Five Pupils Of Dowen College Over Dead Pupil

The police have stepped up their efforts to find the killers of Sylvester Oromoni Jnr. as they have arrested three
housemasters and five pupils of Dowen College, Lagos.

Three pupils of the school were earlier arrested on Tuesday by homicide detectives from the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Panti Street, Yaba.

Sylvester Oromoni allegedly died as a result of the injuries he sustained when he was beaten up by some pupils of Dowen for refusing to join their secret cult gang.

Shedding light on the extent of the investigation carried out so far, the State Police Public Relations Officer, Adekunle Ajisebutu, said that the five pupils mentioned by the late Sylvester Oromoni Jnr. before he died as being responsible for bullying him and three housemasters of Dowen College Lekki were in his custody.

He said nobody was above the law, noting that the case would be thoroughly investigated with a view to getting to the root of the matter.

He said four of the pupils were mentioned by the parents of the victim to be directly involved in the crime while the fifth pupil is assisting the police in their investigation.

READ ALSO: Police Arrest Three Suspects Over Dowen College Pupil’s Death, Two On The Run

The police added that: “The pupils whose names were mentioned are in police custody and investigation is on.

“Equally too, I have gotten in touch with my colleague in Delta State.

“Yesterday, I spoke with the mother of the deceased. I got them invited, so once they come now, we will be able to get the full facts of the case.

“The school has told us their own version of the case and the parents too, we will get their own version of the story.

“The four groups involved in the investigation now are the police, the bereaved family, the Dowen school authorities and the governments of Lagos and Delta State.

“So now, the four groups will come together to witness the post-mortem that will be conducted on Sylvester’s corpse in order to achieve an objective result. So, that is the latest situation.”

 

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Terrorists Burn To Death 30 Bus Passengers In Sokoto

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Terrorists Burn To Death 30 Bus Passengers In Sokoto

Terrorists have burnt to death between 24 and 30 bus passengers in Sokoto State .

The terrorists, known locally as bandits, have in the past year carried out violent attacks targeting villagers and commuters travelling on highways and kidnapped hundreds of school children for ransom in the north of the country.

Sanusi Abubakar, spokesman for the Sokoto Police Command, said the bus was carrying 24 passengers when it was on Monday set alight by armed men and that seven people had escaped with injuries and were taken to hospital.

But two residents who reached the scene and helped retrieve bodies said that the bus was overloaded and the bodies were burnt beyond recognition.

According to reports, the bandits first fired at the bus, before setting it ablaze.

They counted body parts of at least 30 people, including women and children.

READ ALSO: Gumi Protests As Court Declares Bandits As Terrorists

The residents said the villagers were ambushed on a road linking the Sabon Birni local government area and the village of Gidan Bawa.

The terrorists move around on motor-bikes and are known to hide in forests, where they often keep kidnapped victims while awaiting ransom payment.

One of the hospitalised survivors of the attack related his ordeal to Rundunar Adalci, a human rights group.

“I’m from Rumbukawa. We were attacked by bandits yesterday before we reached Bayin Gidan Bawa.

“They shot several people that tried to escape and burnt down the vehicle. I don’t know what happened to my co-passengers but two of us miraculously escaped death,” he said.

Basharu Guyawa, coordinator of Rundunar Adalci told newsmen that they took the passengers to the hospital.

“They were 24 people including men and women on the bus. There were several infants and children in the vehicle.

“For now, we have eight people with several degrees of injuries that have been taken to the General Hospital in Isa town. The chairman of Isa town has settled the medical bills,” he said.

Mr Guyawa said five of the passengers died in the hospital. He said they were three women, a girl and a man.

 

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