#PanamaPapers: SERAP gives CCB two weeks to investigate David Mark, Saraki, Ibori

Senate President David Mark

Senator David Mark speaks on Ortom attack

 
Trove of documents stolen from the Mossack Fonseca law firm
Trove of documents stolen from the Mossack Fonseca law firm

 

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has  given a 14-day ultimatum to the chairman of Nigeria’s  Code of Conduct Bureau “to use your good offices and leadership to urgently investigate current and immediate past high-ranking public officers named in the Panama Papers.
SERAP also wants  Mr Sam Saba, Chairman of the Bureau to probe  other Nigerians  that are maintaining and operating or have maintained and operated foreign accounts in other safe havens and secrecy jurisdictions.

The group urged the CCB  to refer such officers to the Code of Conduct Tribunal for prosecution, where appropriate.

David Mark: mentioned in Panama papers
David Mark: mentioned in Panama papers
The Panama Papers are an unprecedented leak of 11.5million  files from the database of the world’s fourth biggest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca.

The records were obtained from an anonymous source by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). The ICIJ then shared them with a large network of international partners, including the Guardian and the BBC.

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Senate President Bukola Saraki
Senate President Bukola Saraki
The documents show the myriad ways in which corrupt public officers including from Nigeria can exploit secretive offshore regimes to hide their ill-gotten wealth.”
 

Among national leaders and former and current public officers that are reportedly mentioned in the Panama Papers are: Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki; Senator David Mark and the former governor of Delta State, Chief James Ononefe Ibori. Also mentioned are General Theophilus Danjuma and a serving Lagos State Commissioner, Folorunso Coker.

Folorunso Coker: also named in Panama Papers
Folorunso Coker: also named in Panama Papers
SERAP said  Nigerian public officers, their families and close associates are increasingly using safe havens and secrecy jurisdictions like Panama to hide their stolen assets.”
 

The organisation said that, “We would be grateful if the Bureau could begin to take these steps within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then as to the steps the Bureau is taking to address the concerns raised in this letter, the Registered Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel the Bureau to effectively discharge its constitutional and statutory mandates in this instance.”

General TY Danjuma: also mentioned
General TY Danjuma: also mentioned
 
The letter dated 8 April 2016 and signed by SERAP executive director Adetokunbo Mumuni reads in part: “SERAP believes that the Panama Papers have shown the extent to which public officers in the country are concealing their stolen wealth in safe havens and secrecy jurisdictions, contrary to the Code of Conduct for Public Officers which prohibits public officers from maintaining and operating foreign accounts.”
 
“SERAP hopes that the Code of Conduct Bureau will learn from the lessons of the Panama Papers to combat the abuse of the asset declaration requirements and not wait for further international disclosures that may implicate even more public officers in corruption and money laundering.”
 
SERAP argues that unless high-ranking public officers who use safe havens and secrecy jurisdictions to breach the fundamental requirements of asset declaration are sanctioned, named and shamed, the credibility of the asset declaration regime as a tool of preventing and combating corruption will continue to be doubted, and Nigerians will continue to witness climate of lack of transparency and widespread impunity of corrupt public officers in the country.”
 
“SERAP also believes that bodies like the Code of Conduct Bureau should now seize the opportunity and use its mandate to react to this international scandal by taking concrete and proactive steps to address increasing breaches of constitutional provisions by high-ranking public officers. This action will be entirely consistent with the Nigerian 1999 Constitution (as amended), the law establishing the Bureau, and will meet demands by Nigerians for improvement in transparency regarding asset declarations and sanctions of public officers for breaches.”
 
“Effective asset declaration regime can play an important role in detecting illicit enrichment and preventing corruption and avoiding the kind of international embarrassment that the Panama Papers represents for Nigeria.”
 
“SERAP notes that the aims and objectives of the Code of Conduct Bureau include the establishment and maintenance of a high standard of morality in the conduct of public business and ensuring that the actions and behaviour of public officers conform to the highest standards of public morality and accountability.”