Africa and Nigeria’s richest man Aliko Dangote and his half-brother, Sayyu Dantata including allies and relatives have been named among those who use secret shell companies domiciled in controversial tax havens in their business transactions.
According to Premium Times who has access to the document, Aliko Dangote, alongside his half brother, Sayyu Dantata, the founder of MRS Holdings bought equal shares of 12,500 each from OVLAS S.A, a shell company registered in Seycheles, on October 6, 2003.
13 shell companies registered by the firm are directly linked to persons and companies who in turn are linked to Aliko Dangote and his allies, the report added.
In what seems like a curious but smart business transaction, Dangote, Dantata and their company, bought equal shares of 12,500 each from OVLAS S.A, a shell company registered in Seycheles, on October 6, 2003.
On the same date, a company they both own, MRS Oil and Gas Co. Limited bought 25,000 numbers of shares from OVLAS S.A. According to the documents, three years after they existed as shareholders of the company, the trio – Dangote, Dantata and M.R.S Oil and Gas Company Limited – ceased to be shareholder in the company.
That was on April 12, 2006. Mr. Dangote was issued a higher amount of shares – 250,000 – on the same day he resigned. Same curious but smart business transaction was used to acquire Petrowest S.A in the same Seycheles.
The report also revealed that Mr Dangote employed a tactical move of companies within companies all in an attempt to evade taxes. Dangote had earlier been linked to be operating highly secretive foreign accounts with the Swiss branch of banking giant, HSBC.
But Dangote has denied having connection with the off shore companies.
“Thank you for your enquiry concerning our alleged relationship with the following off shore companies namely: Paseo Trading Ltd, Seychelles; Petrowest S.A.,Seychelles; SID Holdings Corp, Panama and Chalmers Shipping Inc, Panama.
“I wish to state categorically that neither Aliko Dangote nor Dangote Industries Ltd (DIL) has any form of relationship with these alleged four off shore companies. The Group has four quoted companies on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and we cannot afford to tarnish our reputation or conduct our business in an unethical manner given this profile,” the spokesperson for the Dangote Group, Tony Chiejina said.
Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is set to swing into action and arrest Nigerians named in the Panama Paper leaks with secret offshore companies. So far, Nigerians named in the leak are embattled senate president, Bukola Saraki, Former Senate President David Mark, Saraki’s wife, Toyin, former Delta State Governor James Ibori, Mr. Laolu Saraki, Mr. Obi Asika, Olufela Ibidapo and former Defence Minister Gen. Yakubu Danjuma.
Sources: Premium Times/Naij