Toyin, the wife of the President of the Nigerian Senate, is a mere business front for her husband, fresh documents retrieved by PREMIUM TIMES from the massive Mossack Fonseca database have shown.
According to the new documents, the assets in Toyin’s name in tax havens are actually held in trust for Bukola Saraki, Nigeria’s third most powerful official.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported on Monday that Mr. Saraki failed to disclose four assets found to be in his wife’s name offshore, in violation of Nigeria’s code of conduct law.
That revelation came to light following the l*ak of a trove of internal data from the Panama-based offshore-provider, Mossack Fonseca, obtained by the German newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung, and shared by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) with PREMIUM TIMES and over 100 other media partners in 82 countries.
In his response to that publication, Mr. Saraki said the controversial assets belonged to the estate of his wife’s rich and famous family, and that the law did not mandate him to declare such a category of assets.
But PREMIUM TIMES has now found that the assets neither belong to Toyin nor to her family’s estate. They are clearly Mr. Saraki’s.
One of the companies in Mrs Saraki’s name in Seychelles Island is Sandon Development Limited, a vehicle used in acquiring a property on 8 Whittaker Street, Belgravia, London, in 2012. Another shareholder listed for that company is Babatunde Morakinyo, a long-term personal aide and friend of Mr. Saraki.
However fresh evidence has shown that Mrs. Saraki and Mr. Morakinyo were mere fronts, nominee directors holding assets in trust for the Senate president.
According to one of the documents in our possession, in April 2012, while still Kwara governor, Mr. Saraki, describing himself as landlord of 8 Whittaker Street, London and 70 Bourne Street, London, executed a deed granting his tenants licence to alter the premises of the properties.
Part three of the deed read, “This license is supplemental. The reversion immediately expectant on the determination of the lease is now vested in the landlord.
“The unexpired residue of the No. 70 (Bourne Street) lease is still vested in Dr. Saraki and the unexpired residue of the number 8 (Whittaker Street) lease is now vested in the companies.”
The deed was “signed, sealed and delivered” by Mr. Saraki on behalf of himself, Sandon Development Limited and Renocon Property Development Limited.
Recall that it was from Renocon that Mrs Saraki, posing as owner of Sandon, purportedly bought Number 8 Whittaker Street in July 2011.
But it is now clear that both companies actually belong to Mr. Saraki, and that he only used a company owned by him to buy a property from another of his companies.
His wife, Toyin, fronted for him in the purported transaction, and it is not clear why the Senate president acted that way.
Girol Properties Ltd, was registered on August 25, 2004 (a year after Mrs. Saraki’s husband became governor of Nigeria’s north-central state of Kwara) in the British Virgin Island (BVI).
Company documents show that Mrs. Saraki owns 25,000 numbers of shares with a par value of US$ 1,00 each, and was appointed the first and only director of the company.
Mrs Saraki however, in a letter to ICIJ, through her lawyers, denies ever owning any shareholding in Girol Properties.
But we have now retrieved a document linking her firmly to the firm, as well as another handwritten document suggesting that Mrs Saraki was known within Mossack Fonseca as just a nominee director and not the beneficial owner of the company.
See the document below:-