Former governor of Anambra State and vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) in the 2019 general elections, Peter Obi, has said he is innocent of the report alleging that he breached the laws by engaging in secret businesses set up in tax havens.
An online publication, Premium Times, quoting Pandora Papers, had listed Obi as one of the personalities who clandestinely set up and operated businesses overseas, including in notorious tax and secrecy havens in the ways that breached Nigerian laws.
The Pandora Papers is a leak of about 12 million documents that revealed hidden wealth and tax avoidance by some of the world’s rich and powerful people.
Reacting on Thursday, Obi noted that nowhere in the article was he accused of any form of corruption, whether in the form of diversion of public funds or in any other manner during and after his stewardship as the governor of Anambra State.
He added that the publication did not say he had been engaged in unlawful business ventures at any time whatsoever.
Obi said his understanding was that the allegation bordered more on tax avoidance and non-declaration of some jointly owned assets.
He said: “On the allegation that I violated the Nigerian Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, as well as Sections of the 5th Schedule to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), by not declaring any alleged assets in companies registered outside the Nigerian Federation, I think that the authors displayed ignorance on matters of Trust and International Investment Practices.
“I did not in any respect whatsoever violate any law before, during and after my stewardship as the governor of Anambra.
“In all matters relating to my investments and declaration of my personal assets, wherever they may be found, I proceeded, pursuant to professional opinions and advice of investment experts both locally and internationally.”