FG May Prosecute Nigerian Public Officials Named In #PanamaPapers Leak
There are indications that the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), may prosecute Nigerian public officials named in the Panama Papers leak.
So far, four Nigerians namely Senate President Bukola Saraki, his predecessor David Mark (pictured), former minister of defence Theophilus Danjuma, and former governor of Delta state James Ibori have been named in the leaks with more named expected in the coming days.
Those named so far held public offices at different times.
According to TheCable, presidency sources said that the attorney-general will consider the next line of action as more facts emerge.
“For now, no government official is going to comment because it is too early in the day,” the official said, adding that prosecution is a “possibility”.
Meanwhile, human rights lawyer, Femi Falana in an interview with the cable said that while there is nothing wrong in owning offshore investments, Nigerian public officials named in the leaks will have to explain their source of wealth.
“It is not a crime to move your wealth to tax havens, we must be clear on that,” he said.
“However, Nigerian public officers named in the leaked papers will have a lot of explaining to do.
“One, they have to justify the assets traced to them in these offshore investments. Did they earn the money legitimately? Two, did they declare those assets to the Code of Conduct Bureau when in public office as required by the law? The Code of Conduct Act came into operation in the 1980s, so it is not a recent law.”
Falana said under the law, there is neither statute of limitation nor exemption for any public officer.
“The issue of trusteeship or blind trust does not arise because it is not known to the code of conduct law. The law also makes it clear that you cannot operate a foreign account,” he said.