Civil rights groups on Monday berated politicians and the elites as 10 Nigerian politicians were implicated in the Pandora Papers for tax evasion.

They were among hundreds of individuals from other countries indicted by the papers for hiding their wealth and assets in offshore locations to evade taxes.

Civil rights organisations including Transition Monitoring Group and the Centre for Public Accountability, in separate interviews with The PUNCH, said report showed deep rooted corruption in Nigeria.

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

Published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists on Sunday, the papers listed 336 politicians, including nationals of eight African countries.

The project saw 600 journalists from 150 news organisations around the world poring through a trove of 11.9 million confidential files, contextualising information, tracking down sources and analysing public records and other documents.

One of those named is a former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, according to Premium Times which participated in the investigations.

Obi, a former Vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2019 election was said to have used a Monaco-based foreign company, Acces International to 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.

According to Premium Times, he allegedly paid Acces International to provide nominee directors for his company, Gabriella Investments Limited.

Gabriella Investment Limited was born on November 17, 2010, with registration number 1615538 while two figureheads – Antony Janse Van Vuuren and Lance Lawson — were appointed its first directors while ultimate control resided with Obi.

Efforts were made to get a response from the former Anambra State Governor  Peter Obi without success.

Calls to his mobile telephone number were neither picked nor returned.

A response to a text message sent to him with respect to his response to findings listed against him in the Pandora papers was still being expected as of 10:09pm

When contacted earlier by Premium Times, Obi stated,  “I don’t declare what is owned with others. If my family owns something I won’t declare it. I didn’t declare anything I jointly owed with anyone.”

The EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren did not respond when asked if the commission would initiate investigations into the allegations against Obi and other Nigerians mentioned in the Pandora Papers.

He did not respond to calls and to a text message seeking his comment on the development.

Details later