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Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Saraki's Company Exposed in Paradise Papers, Aide Replies

Saraki's Company Exposed in Paradise Papers, Aide Replies

Senate President Bukola Saraki

A company allegedly belonging to Senate President Bukola Saraki was reportedly used to engage in huge tax avoidance, according to revelations by paradise papers.

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Mr Yusuf Olaniyonu, a Special Adviser to the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki has said that the senator had violated no law as it regards to assets declaration in Nigeria.

In a statement issued in Abuja on Monday, Olaniyonu, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, described as untrue allegations linking one of Saraki’s companies to the recent leaks by Paradise Papers.

Paradise Papers had published names and owners of companies allegedly engaging in huge tax avoidance by investing in offshore companies in some tax heavens.

The report which leaked on Monday also indicted the Queen of England, Elizabeth II of investing 10 million Pounds in the tax heavens.

An online medium had reported on Monday that Saraki had broken a Nigerian law as his company had been linked to the Paradise Papers’ Leaks.

However, Saraki’s aide, Olaniyonu said that the Senator had not violated any laws adding that he had declared all his companies in his assets declaration form.

“Once again, the issue of offshore company registration which was first raised in 2016 is being revived and thrown to the public space.

“As a responsible public officer, Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, will continue to explain his position.

“We know this is the period of politics when mudslinging is a common trick in the game.

“However, we will like to make it known that Dr. Saraki violated no law and did nothing illegal in the course of registering the company under reference, Tenia Limited, and afterwards.

“As we had earlier explained when the issue was first brought into public view, the company in question, Tenia Limited, was incorporated in 2001, long before Dr. Saraki ventured into politics or held public office.

“The company from incorporation to date had never been used for any transaction. It held no asset. It had no bank account to the best of the knowledge of Dr. Saraki.

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Even if it did, the Senate President was not a signatory to such account. This is just a paper company and therefore could not have been used to hide any asset.

“The company, unlike the other ones investigated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), had been a dormant entity from creation such that when in late 2015, its existence was raised with the Senate President, he could not readily recollect that there was such a company linked to him.

“He then immediately directed that the company be struck off.

“For the umpteenth time, we will reiterate the fact that the Senate President has fully complied with the law on assets declaration, even as it concerns the company under reference.

“We call on all members of the public to disregard the claims and insinuations suggesting that the company in question was incorporated to perpetrate any illegality or that its existence violates any law,” he said.

-NAN

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