No fewer than 12 offshore companies have been linked to the Group Chief Executive of Oando PLC, Mr. Wale Tinubu, who is also a nephew of the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
The companies include: Sigma Technology Inc; Techventure Inc; Anglesey Management SA; Caine Trading Corp; Keligh Engineering Corp; Hud Trading Corps; Meridian Procurement International Services Ltd; Lynx Shipping Ltd; Equinox Shipping Ltd; Everglade Oil Inc; Framlingham Ltd and Triton Trading Ltd
The latest revelation was contained in the leaked massive internal data belonging to Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca which was obtained by German newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung.
According to documents sighted by a Nigerian online medium, the Oando boss and his deputy, Omamofe Boyo, have been operating foreign accounts in notorious tax havens for over seven years.
Tinubu, according to the documents, may have made huge returns from his shell companies that in 2008 as he agreed to pay a front as much as $20,000 monthly to manage all of his offshore transactions.
Tinubu, documents show, secured the services of Mossack Fonseca to help him incorporate the companies in Seychelles, one of the fastest growing offshore jurisdictions in the world and notorious tax haven, the British Virgin Islands.
The documents also reveal that Mossack Fonseca coordinated the operation through its offices in Geneva, the British Virgin Islands and Panama.
Investigation revealed that Tinubu is either sole director of most of the companies or has unlimited powers to make decisions.
For Instance, files from the data revealed that on November 26, 2009, after a meeting of the “board of directors” of one of his shell companies, Keligh Engineering Corp, Mr. Tinubu was granted a general power of attorney as the sole signatory of the company.
The “board meeting” where this decision was made was attended by three nominee directors, – Yvette Rogers (Chairman), Jaqueline Alexander(secretary), Verna de Nelson, who are actually employees of Mossack Fonseca.
Nominee directors are appointees used in offshore tax havens to hide true owners of shell companies.
Rogers had also served as nominee director in Stanhope Investment Ltd, Seychelles, one of the shell companies used by the convicted former Governor of Delta State, James Ibori, to embezzle funds.
In May 2007, Just like Ibori, the Oando boss allegedly secured the services of Swiss asset management firm, Clamorgan SA, to help him incorporate Techventure Inc., Anglesey Management SA, Caine Trading Corp and Keligh Engineering in Seychelles while appointing Mossack Fonseca Geneva as registered agent and administrator for the shell companies.
Curiously, Ibori had claimed during his trial in the United Kingdom that he held 30 per cent stakes in Oando, an allegation the firm has since denied.
In a December 10, 2008 email to Marie-Ange (an employee of Mossack Fonseca in Geneva) Sebastien Clamorgan of Clamorgan SA revealed that Tinubu hired a front, Patrick Bastin, to act on his behalf in his offshore companies.
According to the email, Bastin was rewarded for this role. He was paid a salary of $10,000 monthly and given a corporate visa card which allowed him to spend up to $10,000 monthly.
Bastin was paid from Everglade Oil Inc’s account with a private bank in Beirut, Lebanon.
Meanwhile, Investigations showed that Seychelles is particularly an attractive offshore destination for several top Nigerian businessmen.
Several shell companies owned by Nigerians in tax havens were incorporated in the small Indian Ocean country and registered as International Business Companies
The document revealed that Sayyu Dantata, the cousin of Africa’s wealthiest man, Aliko Dangote, is linked to seven IBCs while Adetokunbo Sijuwade, the son of the late Ooni of Ife, Okunade Sijuwade, is the director of Mandhari Water Investment Inc. and Izwelethu Aluminium and Steel Inc.
Tinubu’s deputy, Boyo, was listed as a director in three IBCs- Everglade Oil Inc, Meridian Procurement International Services, and QVS Ltd.
All attempts to get an official response from Oando Plc proved abortive as the Corporate Communications Manager of Oando, Alero Balogun, failed to respond to telephone calls as well as a text message.