Thursday, 30th November 2023

Danjuma named in Panama Papers leaks

By Niyi Bello (with agency reports)
07 April 2016   |   1:03 am
Former Defence Minister, General Theophilus Danjuma, is the fourth Nigerian to be named in the 'Panama Papers' leak.
 General Theophilus Danjuma

General Theophilus Danjuma

Like Pandora’s box, the extent of alleged corrupt deeds of prominent personalities all over the world who are being accused of engaging in fraudulent lodgment of heavy sums of money in secret accounts in tax havens across the globe, is yet to be fully comprehended.

Yesterday, an online medium named former Defence Minister, General Theophilus Danjuma, as the fourth Nigerian to be named in what has now been described as the biggest scam on the international financial scene.

The revelation of the General’s involvement in the global racket with which the wife of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, his predecessor in office, David Mark and former Delta State governor, James Ibori, have been linked, came as an anti-corruption watchdog, the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), urged the Federal Government to investigate all Nigerians included in the report.

ANEEJ in a statement signed by its Executive Director, Rev. David Ugolor said the Panama Papers expose has further showed how Politically Exposed Persons in the country have over the years been frittering the nation’s wealth to offshore safe havens to the detriment of the common Nigerians and wants the Federal Government to respond without any further delay in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption stance.

The statement said, “We are concerned about the silence of our government to this mind-boggling report. Since governments all over the world including the US, UK and India have started to respond to this monumental fraud, it would not be out of place to ask President Buhari to order the EFCC to investigate Nigerians whose names have featured in the Panama Paper Leak.

“It is expected that such an investigation would reveal the true identity of all those involved and how much they stashed in Panama. Such monies are direly needed to finance development now that the country’s economy is in shambles.”

Revealing Danjuma’s involvement, an online report has it that “the Mossac Fonseca files has now exposed another of his companies – Eastcoast Investments Inc – which he incorporated in Nassau, in the Bahamas, on March 25, 1997.
At inception, Mr. Danjuma and a certain Colin Marcel Dixon were directors of the company.”

The reports added “the general formed the company to enable him to do business with Scancem International of Norway when the later decided to expand its involvement in Africa to include a project in Nigeria. But the company soon became embroiled in a messy bribery scandal, with Scancem, according to court papers, later buying out Eastcoast Investment from the project on December 1, 2003.

“It was later determined that “the money went mainly to another account, Eastcoast Investment had, to General T.Y. Danjuma and a certain The Volta Company”.
As the controversy raged, Mr. Danjuma resigned as director of the company, but we did not sight any document indicating that he transferred his shareholding to anyone.

“A certain Satish Chander Dosaj, who later died, replaced him. On his death, Elizabeth Dixon, believed to be Mr. Dixon’s wife, was brought in as director.

But even before incorporating Eastcoast as a special purpose vehicle to do business with Scancem, Mr. Danjuma had used several offshore entities in the past, mostly registered in tax havens.

Some of the monies were handed over to local contacts in envelopes while others were transferred to accounts in Luxembourg, Switzerland and other places.

“But while Mr Kjelsaas was helping to coordinate Scancem bribery operation across Africa, he was alleged to have kept some of the bribe money for himself.

The document also revealed how Messrs. Danjuma, Kjelsaas and Dixon, who himself was an employee of Scancem, allegedly collaborated to obtain a $3.2 million buyout from Scancem.
The online medium claimed that several attempts to get the general’s response to the revelations were fruitless.