A former governor and Vice Presidential candidate in the 2019 elections, Mr. Peter Obi on Monday joined ARISE News to tell his side of the story on the allegations leveled against him by Premium Times to the effect that he violated the code of conduct bureau statute for public office holders as well as the tribunal act thereby flaunting the Nigerian constitution.
Since media organisations commenced publication of the leaked Pandora Papers, former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, has been under pressure to clear the revelations on his secret business dealings overseas.
Like similar document leaks before it, the Pandora Papers have helped to expose the concealed fortunes in offshore tax havens and, in some cases, money laundering by some of the most powerful people in the world.
But in a statement, Obi dismissed a report by Premium Times, which disclosed that the former governor had concealed a number of offshore businesses and investments when he was the governor of Anambra State.
Obi has since denied the allegation saying he is not guilty as charged.
The astute businessman turn politician disclosed that he resigned from eleven companies he was involved with after becoming governor of Anambra, a State in the southeast axis of Nigeria.
In Nigeria, a person is statutorily obligated to withdraw from engaging in or directing a private business, upon becoming a public officer, as stipulated in Section Six (6) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act.
“Next Int’l Nigeria is an offshoot of Next Int’l UK and I was the CEO. I was living in the UK but on the day I was declared governor, I was in Nigeria presiding over a board meeting of Fidelity Bank as Chairman. I phoned all the 11 companies I was involved in to tell them I have resigned. The only thing I did was to call my wife who is my deputy and ask her to take charge”.
And responding to the cue of him not resigning from Nest Int’l Nigeria in accordance with th law on public office holders, he said ” I resigned completely”, explaining that he did not put Next Int’l in his asset declaragion because these assets have already been declared somewhere else as doing so would amount to double declaration.
He explaining further that his companies were managed by an international Trust outfit. He said, “Trust company is a legitimate vehicle used everywhere globally for investments, savings and estate planning purposes. ‘In my own case and that of my family, it was done on very valuable advice from my former banker’. This is what they (Trust company) did to all their international clients. They will help you to see that you formulate trust company offshore.
“These companies were not used to lounder money before I was in office, when I was in office and after I left office till date. Number two it was not used to buy properties before I was in office, during the time I was in office or after I left office. It was used to support our borrowing.”