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All You Need To Know About The Pandora Papers, Hidden Tax Havens Of World Leaders, Others

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All You Need To Know About The Pandora Papers, Hidden Tax Havens Of World Leaders, Others

A massive investigation under the umbrella of Pandora Papers is currently ongoing, leaking how world leaders, business moguls used offshore tax havens to hide assets worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Pandora Papers investigation is based on the leak of some 11.9 million documents from 14 financial services companies around the world by 600 journalists from media including The Washington Post, the BBC, and The Guardian.

The Pandora Papers released, on Sunday, October 3, 2021, were analyzed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), a nonprofit newsroom and network of journalists centered in Washington, D.C. Some current and former leaders are featured in the documents and will be facing allegations ranging from corruption to money laundering and global tax avoidance.

Based on the most expansive leak of tax haven files in history, the investigation reveals the secret deals and hidden assets of over 330 politicians and high-level public officials in more than 90 countries and territories, including 35 country leaders.

Ambassadors, mayors and ministers,  presidential advisers, generals, and a central bank governor appear in the files.

Where Are The 336 Politicians In The Pandora Papers From?

Pandora Papers Leak, Photo Credit: Aljazeera

Some of the names are listed below:

Heads of state

  • Jordan Abdullah II, King of Jordan
  • Dominican Republic Luis Abinader, President of the Dominican Republic
  • Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan
  • Montenegro Milo Đukanović, President of Montenegro
  • Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya
  • Ecuador Guillermo Lasso, President of Ecuador
  • Republic of the Congo Denis Sassou Nguesso, President of the Republic of the Congo
  • Gabon Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of Gabon
  • Chile Sebastián Piñera, President of Chile
  • Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir of Qatar
  • Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine

Former heads of state

  • Paraguay Horacio Cartes, former president of Paraguay
  • Colombia César Gaviria, former president of Colombia
  • Peru Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, former president of Peru
  • Honduras Porfirio Lobo Sosa, former president of Honduras
  • Panama Ricardo Martinelli, former president of Panama
  • Colombia Andrés Pastrana, former president of Colombia
  • Panama Ernesto Pérez Balladares, former president of Panama
  • Panama Juan Carlos Varela, former president of Panama

Heads of government

  • Ivory Coast Patrick Achi, Prime Minister of Côte d’Ivoire
  • Czech Republic Andrej Babiš, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic
  • United Arab Emirates Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Emir of Dubai
  • Lebanon Najib Mikati, Prime Minister of Lebanon

Former heads of government

  • United Kingdom Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
  • Italy Silvio Berlusconi, former Prime Minister of Italy
  • Hong Kong Tung Chee-hwa, former Chief Executive of Hong Kong
  • Hong Kong Leung Chun-ying, former Chief Executive of Hong Kong

Politicians

  • Honduras Nasry Asfura, current mayor of Tegucigalpa
  • Israel Nir Barkat, former mayor of Jerusalem and current member of the Knesset
  • Brazil Roberto Campos Neto, president of the Central Bank of Brazil
  • Mexico Jorge Arganis Díaz Leal, Secretary of Communications and Transport
  • Ecuador Jaime Durán Barba, consultant of former President of Argentina Mauricio Macri
  • Brazil Paulo Guedes, Minister of the Economy
  • Netherlands Wopke Hoekstra, Minister of Finance and Leader of the Christian Democratic Appeal
  • Serbia Siniša Mali, Minister of Finance and former Mayor of Belgrade
  • Argentina Zulema María Eva Menem, former First Lady of Argentina and daughter of former president of Argentina Carlos Menem
  • Argentina Daniel Muñoz, Secretary of former president of Argentina Néstor Kirchner
  • Israel Haim Ramon – former Vice Prime Minister of Israel and former member of the Knesset
  • Mexico Julio Scherer Ibarra [es], former advisor of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador
  • Pakistan Shaukat Tarin, Finance Minister of Pakistan
  • Malaysia Daim Zainuddin, former Minister of Finance and Chief of the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP)
  • Philippines Arthur Tugade, Secretary of Transportation
  • Philippines Andres D. Bautista, former Chairman of the Commission on Elections and Chairman of the Presidential Commission on Good Government
  • Philippines Dennis Uy, businessman, Honorary Consul of Kazakhstan to the Philippines and business associate to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte
  • Sri Lanka Nirupama Rajapaksa, former Deputy Minister of Water Supply & Drainage

Who has been named?

Among significant individuals named are is Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who, along with six of his family members, was revealed to own 11 offshore companies containing $30million worth of assets.

Former Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi was also revealed to have hidden assets in offshore companies.

Obi first set up Gabriella Investment in 2010 in the British Virgin Islands, which he didn’t declare in his asset form.

The company has mutated and is now known, from 10 February 2017, as PMGG Investments Limited. The name combined the first letters of the first names of Mr. Obi’s nuclear family. P for Peter (ex-governor), M for Margaret (the ex-governor’s wife), G for Gabriella (the ex-governor’s daughter), and G for Gregory (the ex-governor’s son).

“Mr Obi has also now created a trust known as The Gabriella Settlement, an entity also registered in the BVI.

“According to Fidelity Investments, a trust is a fiduciary arrangement that allows a third party, or trustee, to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary or beneficiaries. Experts believe that trusts are traditionally used for minimizing taxes even though they can offer other estate plan benefits as well.

“By the current structuring of Mr Obi’s wealth and offshore businesses, The Gabriella Settlement, which appears to hold all or a majority of his assets, is the sole shareholder of PMGG Investments.

“In turn, a New Zealander entity, Granite Trust Company Limited is the sole trustee of The Gabriella Settlement. Sam Access International, the Monaco-based secrecy enabler Mr Obi first hired in 2010 to set up his offshore structure, was until August 23, 2019, the sole shareholder of Granite Trust”.

Others include Jordan’s King Abdullah II who was alleged to have used offshore accounts to spend more than $100m on luxury homes in the UK and US.

Days ahead of the Czech Republic’s October 8-9 parliamentary election, the documents allegedly tied the country’s prime minister, Andrej Babis, to a secret $22m estate in a hilltop village near Cannes, France.

The Papers also listed Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and his mother as beneficiaries of a secretive foundation in Panama.

The leaked document also showed that three of Kenyatta’s siblings own five offshore companies with assets worth more than $30m.

As well as politicians, the public figures exposed included Colombian singer Shakira, German supermodel Claudia Schiffer and former Indian cricket captain Sachin Tendulkar.

Prime minister of Pakistan Imran Khan’s cabinet ministers and their families were shown to own millions of dollars worth of offshore companies.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky was shown to have moved his stake in a secret offshore company just before his victory in the 2019 election.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and his family and close associates snapped up more than $500million (£400million) worth of property in the UK – consisting of 17 properties, including an office block in London for $44.6million (£33million) for the president’s son Heydar Aliyev, aged 11.

They also appeared to have made a $41.9million (£31million) profit after selling a London property to the Queen’s Crown Estate, which is managed by the Treasury.

Former British prime minister Mr Blair and his wife Cherie saved some $434,000 (£321,000) in stamp duty when they bought an office in London by purchasing the offshore company that owned it. amongst others.

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Politics

CAN Opposes Christian-Christian, Muslim-Muslim Presidential Ticket In 2023

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CAN President

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has warned  political parties not to buy the idea of  Christian/Christian tickets or Muslim/Muslim presidential tickets in 2023.

CAN President, Samson Ayokunle gave the warning on Thursday after a brief meeting with Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege at the National Assembly.

Ayokunle told politicians not to heat up the polity with utterances as campaigns commence.

Ayokunle advised them to always remember there is already tension across Nigeria due to insecurity

“We urge that a balance of both religious practitioners be considered. We don’t want Christian/Christian ticket nor Muslim/Muslim ticket”, he said.

Ayokunle expressed disappointment with the economic downturn and its consequences on the people.

The CAN President called for quick actions and policies that will cushion the effect.

“Unemployment is at an unimaginable level. While we appreciate the efforts of the legislature in calling the attention of the executive, more robust and daring efforts are required

“Enabling environment should be created for investments and incentives or tax exceptions given to local manufacturers on some goods”, Ayokunle added.

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NSCDC Deploys 20,000 Personnel For Anambra Election

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NSCDC

Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has deployed 20,000 personnel to provide security for the November. 6 governorship election in Anambra.

Those to be deployed include personnel in the NSCDC Arms Squad Unit, Counter-Terrorism Unit and Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Explosives Unit.

NSCDC Commandant-General, Dr Ahmed Audi, said this on Thursday in Abuja while delivering a keynote address at a three-day Train-the-Trainers Capacity Building and Electoral Workshop, ahead of the Anambra poll.

Audi said that the special forces would be drafted to key areas in the state where they would be saddled with the responsibility of protecting lives and property.

“They will also see to the protection of sensitive and non-sensitive election materials, INEC officials and all critical assets against vandalism, damage or arsonist attacks,” he said.

He said that NSCDC, in collaboration with other security agencies, had developed strategies to checkmate any act of electoral violence and other nefarious activities capable of undermining the electoral process.

The commandant-general further said that the deployed personnel would ensure effective monitoring before, during and after the election.

Audi also said that the personnel would be drafted from the NSCDC commands in all the states in the South-South and South-East zones.

“In addition, personnel from Kogi, Ekiti, Ondo, and Benue have been placed on standby, in case there is the need for reinforcement,” he said.

The NSCDC boss warned the officers to strictly adhere to the ethics of the corps and comply with the law in the discharge of their duties.

“Let me warn, and I mean it, that any conduct of an officer of NSCDC that undermines the rule of law will be seriously dealt with, in accordance with the public service rule,” he added.

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Stakeholders Call On NERC, EEDC To Scale Up Performance In S’East

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Electricity

Stakeholders in the electricity industry in the South-East have charged the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) to scale up their performances.

The people gave the charge on Thursday in Enugu at a NERC Stakeholders’ Engagement on Consultation on the Review of Customer Protection Regulations.

They described the periodic review of the regulations after five years as worthwhile.

They, however, said the practical implementation of the regulations, especially concerning the treatment of customers’ complaints, was of greater importance than the proposed review.

An electricity consumer, Mr Joshua Itumo, said the period between the supply of bills and disconnection of defaulting customers “must be reviewed to meet present realities and hardship customers face to get the money to pay their bills.

“The review also has to include that those enforcing disconnection must do it with human face and listen when superior argument or evidence of payment is presented,” Itumo said.A landlord in Trans Ekulu, Enugu, Mr Ifeanyichukwu Okorie, urged NERC and EEDC to clearly state the amount, which when accumulated by a tenant, must be paid before he or she parks out.

Okorie said: “It is not palatable that someone will park into a new apartment and inherit over N500,000 as electricity liability.

“Where does he start as a new tenant to off-set such a huge bill?”

Mr David Emeson, who lives at Agui Road, Enugu, said it was better to ensure the existing regulations were implemented to the latter than have a review that could not be implemented.

“We are not lacking good regulations. The problem is that NERC and EEDC most times fail to carry out what the regulations say and leave customers to their fate,’’ Emeson said.

Earlier, Prof. Frank Okafor, the Commissioner in charge of Engineering and Performance Monitoring in NERC, said the review had become necessary after five years in order to accommodate new ways of doing things, technology and other innovations.

Okafor said the review was not to witch-hunt any stakeholder but ensure more efficient and robust regulations to the benefit of electricity consumers.

“We are looking for ways to ensure more proactive and fast-result oriented ways of attending to customers’ complaints and using technological devices to do this, since NERC cannot be everywhere,” he said.

He said it was difficult for NERC to be proactive due to limited manpower, pointing out that the commission had only 150 staff members nationwide.

Responding, the Managing Director of EEDC, Mr Chorghade Praveen, assured the customers that the company was eager to resolve their complaints in good time, “just as we have recorded noticeable improvement in power supply across our network”.

Praveen also said the company was designing some technological innovations for complaints to be reported and solved within few hours of the report, where possible.

“We are working to improve our customers’ experience just as we have improved in the rate and quality of power supply throughout our franchise area.

“EEDC is moving from customers’ satisfaction to customers’ affection in order to allow our esteemed customers the best quality of service and care so far.

“All the complaints raised here and others to come, I assure you will be treated with dispatch,” he said.

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