After almost two years of tracking and sieving of documents, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has identified Nigerians indicted in the famous Panama Papers.
The list of the indicted persons may be made public soon ahead of further investigation and prosecution.
Sources said yesterday that some of the implicated people were the brains behind the alleged plot to remove EFCC Acting Chairman Ibrahim Magu.
The objective is to cover the tracks of such people said to include two serving governors, some ex-governors, Senators and a powerful Northern Emirate kingmaker.
Investigation by our correspondent revealed that an investigative team raised by the EFCC chairman has already submitted a list of Nigerians with a case to answer on the Panama Papers.
Although over 110 Nigerians were mentioned in the operation of offshore shell companies in tax havens, the EFCC team was said to have recorded a breakthrough last night in identifying those with issues to clear in court.
“Our investigators have worked hard on Panama Papers in the last one year and we have reached a reasonable bend,” an EFCC source said.
“As I talk to you, the EFCC has identified Nigerians who should be questioned and prosecuted for using shell companies to launder public funds.
“We will soon release the names of those affected to the public. They will also be arrested preparatory to their interrogation and trial. Our report is ready.”
Responding to a question, the highly-placed source added: “Our investigators have succeeded in using the evidence in Panama Papers to carry out forensic tracking of the activities of the indicted Nigerians. There is no hiding place for these elements and their international collaborators.”
Panama Paper is a leakage of sensitive documents detailing how political world leaders, celebrities, athletes, FIFA officials and so on, hid money using anonymous shell corporations across the world.
Online publication, PREMIUM TIMES, which was part of the investigative network said: “the unprecedented year-long investigation involving 11.5 million secret documents – which stretched from 1977 to December 2015 – exposed the hidden underground of the world economy, a network of banks, law firms and other middlemen that utilize shell companies, sometimes using them to hide illegal wealth.”
The documents, held by Panama-based Mossack Fonseca, were released to Süddeutsche Zeitung, a German newspaper, and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
The Panamanian law firm, regarded as one of the world’s most secretive companies, according to the documents, has helped clients launder money, dodge sanctions and evade tax.
About 14,000 clients used Fonseca while 214,000 companies incorporated by Fonseca had their details leaked to journalists.
Based on Panama Papers, Mr. Nawaz Sharif resigned as Prime Minister of Pakistan because of his disqualification from office by his country’s Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court took the decision after a probe linked Sharif’s family, including his children, to offshore companies.
As at press time, there were indications that those implicated in the Panama Papers have joined anti-Magu’s plot following leakage that EFCC was closing in on them.
It was learnt that those who have drawn the battle line with Magu include two serving governors, some ex-governors, Senators and a powerful kingmaker in an Emirate in the North.
Another source said: “Some of those jittery and neck deep in the plot were also linked with the scandal associated with the first tranche of over N517billion London-Paris Club refunds which was released to the 36 states and the FCT.
“These influential leaders have been involved in lobbying to stop Magu from being re-nominated or cleared by the Senate.
“The intelligence gathered was able to uncover how they had been meeting and committing huge funds to stop Magu
“Their fears border on the fact that the Panama Papers might also play a key factor in the 2019 general election. Some of the indicted Senators are currently aspiring to be governors.”