PANDORA PAPERS: FIRS vows to go after culpable individuals
The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has vowed actions to determine and punish possible tax offences following the landmark Pandora Papers investigation in which a number of rich and powerful Nigerians have been named.
The Pandora Papers project involves 617 journalists and 151 media outlets collaborating to investigate a vast amount of previously hidden offshore records of the powerful and super rich in the world.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists obtained the trove of 11.9 million confidential files and led the partners, including Nigeria’s PREMIUM TIMES, that spent two years sifting through them, tracking down sources and digging into court files and other public records from dozens of countries.
The leaked records come from 14 offshore services firms from around the world that set up shell companies and other offshore nooks for clients often seeking to keep their financial activities in the shadows.
In the Nigerian series, published by PREMIUM TIMES, a number of Nigerian serving and past public officers have been reported as having links to offshore companies, many undeclared in accordance with the law and some others used to anonymously acquire UK properties.
Offshore firms are not necessarily illegal and they are at times used for legitimate purposes. But they feature prominently in illicit financial flows. Corrupt politicians use them to steal and launder proceeds of corruption across international jurisdictions.
Nigerians reported so far include ex-governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi; governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Bagudu; former minister and serving senator, Stella Oduah; NPA acting chief Mohammed Bello-Koko; and Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State as well as their associates.