A trove of internal data from the Panama-based offshore-provider, Mossack Fonseca, obtained by the German newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) with Premium Times and over 100 other media partners in 82 countries, revealed that the properties were part of the assets belonging to the Senate President’s immediate family.
A private investigation on Monday exposed Mr. Saraki as having failed to declare the assets among those filed with the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), as required by Nigerian laws.
However, Mr. Saraki, through his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, claimed in a statement Monday night that he fully complied with the provisions of the law.
He said the assets he failed to disclose belonged to the estate of his wife’s family.
But the claims by Mr. Saraki contradicted those by his wife’s lawyers who said the assets in question belonged to no one else but Mrs. Saraki alone. The London-based law firm of Harbottle & Lewis, who are lawyers to Mrs. Saraki, in clarifying the legal position of the controversial assets, said its client solely own them.
“Our client is the sole shareholder in Sandon Development Limited. There are not and have never been any other shareholders in Sandon Developments Limited,” Harbottle & Lewis stated in a response to enquiries by the ICIJ in a letter dated March 19, 2016.
Similarly, the law firm also confirmed that Mrs. Saraki was the “sole shareholder of Landfield International Developments Limited from incorporation until January 2015,” when she sold her shares to a third party.
Also in one document seen by the online news platform, Mrs. Saraki insisted she was the sole director of Girol Properties Limited.