Oando boss, Wale Tinubu is said to have operated 12 offshore companies in tax haven according to documents leaked from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.
The documents were investigated by International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and more than 100 other global news organizations across the world including Nigerian medium PREMIUM TIMES.
The document also revealed links between Tinubu and former Delta state governor, James Ibori, who was also listed among those with shell companies in tax havens in the #PanamaPapers.
Here’s what PREMIUM TIMES wrote about him.
The documents show that Tinubu is director in the following companies incorporated in Seychelles and the BVI: Sigma Technology Inc., Techventure Inc., Anglesey Management SA, Caine Trading Corp, Keligh Engineering Corp, Hud Trading Corps, Meridian,, Procurement International Services Ltd, Lynx Shipping Ltd, Equinox Shipping Ltd, Everglade Oil Inc., Framlingham Ltd, and Triton Trading Ltd.
Investigation reveal that Tinubu is either sole director of most of the companies or has unlimited powers to make decisions.
For Instance, files from the data revealed that on November 26, 2009, after a meeting of the “board of directors” of one of his shell companies, Keligh Engineering Corp, Tinubu was granted a general power of attorney as the sole signatory of the company.
The “board meeting” where this decision was made was attended by three nominee directors, – Yvette Rogers (Chairman), Jaqueline Alexander(secretary), Verna de Nelson, who are actually employees of Mossack Fonseca.
Nominee directors are appointees used in offshore tax havens to hide true owners of shell companies.
Rogers had also served as nominee director in Stanhope Investment Ltd, Seychelles, one of the shell companies used by the imprisoned former governor of Delta State, James Ibori, to steal the resources of his oil-rich state.
As part of its #PanamaPapers series, PREMIUM TIMES had revealed how Mossack Fonseca helped Mr Ibori, who is serving a 13-year jail term in the United Kingdom for money laundering, hide funds stolen from Delta State treasury through a web of offshore companies.
In May 2007, Just like Ibori, the Oando boss also secured the services of Swiss asset management firm, Clamorgan SA, to help him incorporate Techventure Inc., Anglesey Management SA, Caine Trading Corp and Keligh Engineering in Seychelles while appointing Mossack Fonseca Geneva as registered agent and administrator for the shell companies.
On May 2, 2007, Sebastien Thierry of Clamorgan S.A, who had acted as signatory for one of Ibori’s shell companies, wrote a letter to Sonia Scampa of Mossack Fonseca, thanking her for verifying and assisting in registering the companies, as well as granting Mr. Tinubu the power of attorney.
“Following my mail yesterday and our conversation today, I reiterated the confirmation sent yesterday morning taken the following companies – Anglesey Management SA, Caine Trading Corp., KLeigh Engineering Corp. Thank you for making a power of attorney for Wale Tinubu for three companies,” he wrote in French.
It remains unclear why Tinubu hired the same offshore consultants used by Ibori to run his offshore companies. But in September 2013, British prosecutors told a court that Ibori confessed to owning “significant” shares in Oando Plc.
According to crown prosecutor, Sasha Wass, a Queen’s Counsel, while opening an account at Swiss bank, PKB, through a shell company called Stanhope Investment, Ibori told the bank he owned 30 per cent of Oando.
Oando had denied that Ibori’s wealth was hidden in the company. The company at the time circulated a statement claiming that Ibori only had 443 shares of the company’s 6.8 billion ordinary shares.
Read the complete report of the investigation by PREMIUM TIMES HERE.