Nigerian public officers named in the Panama Papers leak could face prosecution if the attorney-general of the federation, AGF, decides to press a case, TheCable, an online publication reports.
The leak of more than 11 million secret documents from the Panama-based law firm, Mossack Fonseca, is causing ripples globally.
Ethical and criminal questions are being asked about the stashing away of billions of dollars in tax havens.
Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, Iceland prime minister, has resigned over the leaks which exposed his offshore assets.
Nigerians named so far — with more to come — are Senate President Bukola Saraki, his predecessor David Mark (pictured), former minister of defence Theophilus Danjuma, and former governor of Delta state James Ibori.
Femi Falana, in an interview with TheCable, said there is no protection for any Nigerian public officer, serving or retired, when it comes to offshore investments.
“It is not a crime to move your wealth to tax havens, we must be clear on that,” he said.
“However, Nigerian public officers named in the leaked papers will have a lot of explaining to do.
“One, they have to justify the assets traced to them in these offshore investments. Did they earn the money legitimately? Two, did they declare those assets to the Code of Conduct Bureau when in public office as required by the law? The Code of Conduct Act came into operation in the 1980s, so it is not a recent law.”
Falana said under the law, there is neither statute of limitation nor exemption for any public officer.
“The issue of trusteeship or blind trust does not arise because it is not known to the code of conduct law. The law also makes it clear that you cannot operate a foreign account,” he said.
Presidency sources told TheCable that the attorney-general will consider the next line of action as more facts emerge.
“For now, no government official is going to comment because it is too early in the day,” the official told TheCable, but said prosecution is a “possibility”.
Those named so far held public offices at different times.
Saraki, who is currently facing trial over charges of false asset declaration, was governor of Kwara state between 2003 and 2011.


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