The Governor of Niger State, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello and at least 100 other Nigerian individuals and companies have so far been linked to the leaked internal data of Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonsecca, as operators of offshore shell companies in tax havens.
This was contained in a report published on Thursday by Premium Times, the only Nigerian media organisation with exclusive access to the documents obtained by German newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung.
According to the report, the incumbent governor of Niger state is associated with Devpharm Limited domiciled in British Virgin Island in the Caribbean. However, no further information was made available indicating the structure of the company.
It is important to note though that using offshore structures is entirely legal. There are many legitimate reasons for doing so. Business people in countries such as Russia and Ukraine typically put their assets offshore to defend them from “raids” by criminals, and to get around hard currency restrictions. Others use offshore for reasons of inheritance and estate planning.