At least eight offshore companies in the British Virgin Island have been linked to the immediate past Senate President, David Mark, in a secret assets scam released by a German newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung.
The German newspaper had on Monday released the Panama Papers, the biggest leak in the history of data journalism, publishing online 11.5 million documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, which showed how prominent people including the family of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, a former governor of Delta State, James Ibori, Argentinian footballer, Lionel Messi and criminals hid money using anonymous shell corporations across the world.
The Panamanian law firm, regarded as one of the world’s most secretive companies, according to the documents, has helped clients launder money, dodge sanctions and evade tax.
The data was obtained by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists with over 100 other media partners in 82 countries.
Files seen by online medium, Premium Times, show the eight offshore companies traced to Mark are Sikera Overseas S.A, Colsan Enterprises Limited, Goldwin Transworld Limited, Hartland Estates Limited, Marlin Holdings Limited, Medley Holdings Limited, Quetta Properties Limited, and Centenary Holdings Limited.
It was, however, unclear as to what business dealings Mark had with the companies.
Attempts to get Mark’s reaction to his alleged involvement in the Panama assets scam failed on Tuesday as his Media Assistant, Paul Mumeh, failed to pick his calls while he did not also respond to the text message sent to him.
Meanwhile, the Presidency on Tuesday said President Muhammadu Buhari would not dabble into the issues of Saraki and Ibori, who are named in secret offshore assets.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said this in an interview with one of our correspondents in Abuja.
There were reports on Tuesday that Saraki’s family and Ibori, were among some prominent Africans named in a newly discovered secret offshore assets released by Süddeutsche Zeitung.
Quoting the report, Premium Times had said the undeclared assets by Saraki included Girol Properties Ltd., Sandon Development Limited, and Landfield International Developments Ltd.
Girol Properties, the report stated, was registered on behalf of Toyin by Mossack Fonsecca on August 25, 2004, in the British Virgin Island, a year after her husband, Bukola, became the governor of Kwara State.
When asked what steps the President would take over the revelations and those mentioned in the report, Adesina said Buhari would not dabble into issues that might later become major legal matters.
He said although the present administration’s anti-graft war was on course and gathering steam, the President respected separation of powers.
“This President is not precipitate. He will not dabble into what may become major legal matters. He respects separation of powers. The anti-graft war is on course and gathering steam,” the presidential spokesman simply said.