At least four assets belonging to the wealthy and famous Saraki family of Nigeria, all tucked away in secret offshore territories, have been uncovered. But the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, failed to declare them to the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, as required by law. This was revealed in the internal data of the Panama-based offshore-provider, Mossack Fonseca, obtained by the German newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). This new development could worsen Saraki’s case as he battles to extricate himself from allegations of corruption.
Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, Monday, said he had fully complied with the provisions of the law on declaration of assets by public officers. Last September, the CCB slammed false asset declaration charges on Saraki, accusing him, among other things, of failure to declare his assets in full. Under the code of conduct law, a public office holder is required to declare his own assets, those of his wife as well as assets in the names of his children below the age of 18. The hidden assets However, a fresh investigation has uncovered a hidden London property in the name of Toyin Saraki but which was left out among the assets declared by the Senate President. The hidden property is located at #8 Whuttaker Street, Belgravia, London SW1W 8JQ. It has title number NGL802235. The first, Girol Properties Ltd, was registered on August 25, 2004, (a year after Mrs. Saraki’s husband became governor of Kwara State) in the British Virgin Island (BVI). Company documents show that Mrs. Saraki owns 25,000 numbers of shares with a par value of US$ 1,00 each, and was appointed the first and only director of the company. It, however, remains unclear what businesses Mrs Saraki transacted with the company. Mrs Saraki, however, in a letter to ICIJ, through her lawyers, denied ever owning any shareholding in Girol Properties.
In a reaction to the claim contained in the Panama-based offshore provider, Mossack Fonseca and shared by the International Consortium of Investigation Journalists (ICIJ) that he failed to declare assets belonging to his wife, Mrs Toyin Saraki, in secret offshore territories, Saraki said he had in his different asset declarations included properties owned individually by himself and his wife. He said: “The property in question forms part of Dr Saraki’s wife’s family asset. It is public knowledge that Mrs. Saraki comes from a family of independent means and wealth with numerous and varied assets acquired over decades in family estates and investments. Furthermore, the law only requires a public officer to declare both his own assets and those held by his spouse and his children under 18 years of age. The law does not require a public officer to declare assets held by the spouse’s family. “It is not expected by the law that a public officer should declare such assets held in the spouse’s family estate. Indeed, the Code of Conduct form does not make provision for declaration of spouse’s family assets.”