The Pandora Papers continue to unravel lots of alleged shady financial misconducts as a former Minister and serving Senator, Stella Oduah has been accused of siphoning funds via the purchase of high-end properties in the United Kingdom.
This was alleged in a report published by Premium Times on Wednesday in collaboration with UK-based Finance Uncovered within the larger Pandora Papers Investigation coordinated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, ICIJ.
The report claimed that Sen Oduah acquired four London properties worth a total of £6.7 million between October 2012 and August 2013. “At today’s naira value, that amounts to approximately N5.2 billion at the black market rate of N775 to a pound sterling. If the official Central Bank of Nigeria rate of N558 to a pound sterling is used, the amount would translate to approximately N3.74 billion”, it said.
10 Nigerian and 26 other African politicians were implicated in Pandora Papers.
Pandora Papers is a leak of almost 12 million documents that reveals hidden wealth, tax avoidance and, in some cases, money laundering by some of the world’s rich and powerful.
The Pandora Papers details how rich and powerful individuals from across the world – including more than 330 politicians from 90 countries – launder money by setting up businesses in tax havens like the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, as well as in countries like Switzerland and Singapore.
Nigeria’s Premium Times, which is a member of the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), reports that Oduah incorporated International Trading and Logistics Company Limited (ITCL) in the tax haven of Seychelles.
On July 12, 2011, just days after her assumption of office as Aviation Minister, Oduah used ITCL Nigeria to buy Flats 303 and 306 Grant House, 90 Liberty Street and London SW9 0BZ.
Records show that none of the four properties was bought with mortgage financing, meaning Oduah secretly routed 6.7 million pounds through her offshore company to anonymously effect the acquisitions, according to the report.
It is unclear if she declared some or all of the properties and the offshore company ITCL to the Code of Conduct of Bureau (CCB).
The senator did not respond to requests for comments from journalists.
President Goodluck Jonathan fired Oduah from her position of Aviation Minister on February 12, 2014, after she was indicted by two panels for purchasing two bullet-proof cars for the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for N255 million, in breach of public procurement and appropriation laws.
She dumped the PDP for the governing APC in August 2021.