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David Mark is a liar, he has offshore companies - Premium Times insists

Written By Idoma Television on Thursday, April 7, 2016 | 12:09:00 PM

A former Senate president, David Mark, has finally responded to report exposing his link with offshore shell companies in breach of Nigeria’s code of conduct for public officers.

On Tuesday, PREMIUM TIMES exclusively reported Mr. Mark’s links with eight offshore companies in British Virgin Island as shown by the leaked database of Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm reputed for helping clients register shell companies, some of which are used for illicit purposes.

The Mossack Fonseca database shows that Mr. Mark is one of Nigeria’s most extensive users of offshore shell companies, even while being a public official.

The companies are Sikera Overseas S.A, Colsan Enterprises Limited, Goldwin Transworld Limited, Hartland Estates Limited, Marlin Holdings Limited, Medley Holdings Limited, Quetta Properties Limited, and Centenary Holdings Limited.

In the documents, Mr. Mark was repeatedly marked as a politically exposed person, and at a point the former Senate President had to send documents, across to Mossack Fonseca to prove that he was clean.
Before the report was published on Monday, Mr. Mark declined to respond to PREMIUM TIMES inquiry.
But on Thursday, he responded through a statement by his media aide, Paul Mumeh, denying link to any offshore company.
In his response Thursday, Mr. Mark claimed he had gone through the #PanamaPapers database and that he was never mentioned anywhere.
However, Joshua Olufemi, Project Manager at the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism, has punctured the former Senate president’s claims.

“It is the height of falsehood for David Mark to claim he has looked through the database, and that he didn’t find his name,” Mr. Olufemi said. “The database is not public, and the strict security protocol around it will not allow unauthorised users to access it. So which database did he check?
“It is sad that a man who was the number three official in our country will cook up this level of lies. If he indeed has access to the database, he should look again, and he will find his name and his companies listed there. The earlier he accepts that reality the better.”

Mr. Olufemi said his centre will, through its parent newspaper, PREMIUM TIMES, release additional information on Mr. Mark’s case as necessary.

It remains unclear what businesses Mr. Mark conducted with the companies he incorporated in the named tax havens.
While not all owners or operators of such offshore entities are criminals, owning or maintaining 
interest in private companies while serving as a public official is against Nigerian laws.

Section 6 (b) of the Code of Conduct Act says a public office holder shall not, “except where he is not employed on full‐time basis, engage or participate in the management or running of any private business, profession or trade.

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