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Apr 11, 2013 (130411)
(Reposted from sources cited below)
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
(ICIJ) has begun publication of stories from a vast trove
of documents revealing transactions in the "offshore
world" of tax havens. The data, from an Australian
investigation of offshore financial shelters and fraud,
held more than 2.5 million records, which are being
investigated by dozens of journalists. The total size of
the files, measured in gigabytes, is more than 160 times
larger than the leak of U.S. State Department documents
by Wikileaks in 2010.
The files contain documents referring to companies
principally in the British Virgin Islands, Cook Islands, and Singapore,
only a few of the many offshore jurisdictions around the
world. But the investigation has turned up offshore
investors from around the world. Those published so far
referring to Africa include Nigerian political figures
and entrepreneurs, as well as a Thai official with close
links to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.
This AfricaFocus Bulletin contains an article by
journalist Musikilu Mojeed of Nigeria's Premium Times,
and excerpts from short profiles from the ICIJ site of
prominent figures from around the world.
For the full set of reports to date, visit
For an overview of the project methods, see
"How ICIJ's Project Team Analyzed the Offshore Files"
ICIJ April 3, 2013
On Thailand's Nalinee Taveesin, see
"'Crony' of African Strongman Among Thai Names in Secret
Offshore Files" ICIJ, April 3, 2013
Also on Nigeria, see "Family of Televangelist Chris
Oyakhilome Incorporated Secretive Company in Tax Haven"
Premium Times, March 10, 2013
For previous AfricaFocus Bulletins on illicit capital
flows and related issues, visit http://www.africafocus.org/debtexp.php
For an extensive overview of the illicit capital flows
that are used to drain wealth from Africa, the USA, and
around the world into secret tax havens, see the
Association of Concerned Africa Scholars special bulletin
on "Africa's Capital Losses: What is to be Done?", at
The new find of documents is a suitable reply to the
Romney campaign comment quoted in the cartoon on the
cover of that issue: "Criticism of Overseas Tax Havens
'Unseemly and Disgusting'"
++++++++++++++++++++++end editor's note+++++++++++++++++
#Offshoreleaks: President Jonathan's adviser, ex-oil
minister linked to secret offshore firms
Premium Times Nigeria - http://premiumtimesng.com
Direct link to article: http://tinyurl.com/bs85k8v
April 4, 2013
Musikilu Mojeed , Premium Times managing editor, is
member of the International Consortium of Investigative
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
 is an independent network of reporters in more than
60 countries who collaborate on cross-border
investigations. It is a project of the Washington-based
Center for Public Integrity.
President Goodluck Jonathan's special adviser on
political matters, Ahmed Gulak, leads a growing list of
Nigerian business and political elites who ran or still
run secret offshore companies and accounts where they
either hide their wealth to evade taxes, launder money or
commit fraud, according to a cache of documents reviewed
by PREMIUM TIMES  and the International Consortium of
Investigative Journalists , ICIJ.
Mr. Gulak, who deals in the supply of fast boats, radial
systems and naval communication equipment as well as
military hardware to the Nigerian government, was linked
to a secret shell company in the British Virgin Islands,
one of the world's most notorious tax havens.
Mr. Gulak is listed along with a former petroleum
minister, Edmund Daukouru, and a former head of the
Nigeria Ports Authority, Bello Gwandu, as key Nigerians
indulging in this practice, according to our
Ahmed Gulak acts as legal adviser to Erojim Group of
Companies , according to information available on the
company's website. Erojim is a contracting firm that
claims to supply fast boats, radial systems and naval
communication equipment and other military hardware to
the Nigerian government in liaison with its foreign
partner, Poly Technologies, and NORINCO, both of China.
On the other hand, Edmund Daukouru , a former
petroleum minister sits on the board of Caverton Offshore
Support Group, a Lagos-based provider of integrated
offshore support services in Nigeria but which has also
bounded with some foreigners to form a secret company
abroad. Also on Caverton's nine-man board is Bello
Gwandu, a ruling party politician and former managing
director of the Nigeria Ports Authority, a federal agency
that oversees and operates the ports of the world's most
populous black nation.
Mr. Gulak, a lawyer and former lawmaker in Nigeria's
Northwest state of Adamawa, is one of President
Jonathan's closest aides, having worked as director of
mobilization in the campaign that returned the president
to power in 2011. As legal adviser and close associate
of Jimmy Ntuen, Erojim's CEO, Mr. Gulak helped draft the
legal papers for the incorporation of Erojim and its
subsidiaries, including assisting Mr. Ntuen, who suddenly
became Jimmy Ernest, when the British Virgin Island's
version of Erojim was being incorporated.
These individuals are among a number of Nigerian
officials and businesspersons who have links with shell
companies abroad. It is not clear why they incorporated
these shell companies - that is corporations that exist
but do not have employees or assets and carry out no
visible operations. But shell companies, according to
Fraud Auditing Inc., a worldwide authority on fraud, have
become progressively known for their involvement with
illegal activities, including money laundering, tax
evasion, billing schemes and fictitious service schemes.
Taking advantage of the loose laws in several
jurisdictions, shell companies are easy to form and
owners can remain anonymous while using nominee directors
as fronts and deploying the corporations to hide illgotten
assets, launder funds, dodge litigations or evade
An example is convicted former Nigerian state governor,
Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, who was found to have used
Solomon & Peters (a shell company registered in the
British Virgin Islands) and Santolina Investment
Corporation, (a company incorporated in the Seychelles),
to steal public funds with which he acquired assets
valued at about 17.7 million British pounds while
governor of the oil-rich state of Bayelsa. Nigeria's
anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes
Commission, has also accused another ex-governor,
Abubakar Audu, of using two offshore companies in
Bermuda (another tax haven) to hide ill-gotten assets.
Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, is the 35th most
corrupt country in the world, according to Transparency
International's 2012 rankings. Although the country has
enormous oil resources, earning $24.5billion a year,
according to the Revenue Watch Institute, most of its
wealth are routinely stolen by kleptomaniac leaders who
usually form shell companies to conceal their ill-gotten
assets. The result is that the West African giant has
remained among the most poverty-stricken in the world,
ranking 156th out of the 187 countries rated in the
United Nation's most recent Human Development Index.
The Tax Justice Network, an international group
campaigning against tax havens, estimates that about
$11.5 trillion is held offshore by individuals - with a
resulting annual loss of tax revenue on the income from
these assets of about 250 billion dollars. "This is five
times what the World Bank estimated in 2002  was
needed to address the UN Millenium Development Goal of
halving world poverty by 2015," the group said. "This
much money could also pay to transform the world's energy
infrastructure to tackle climate change."
These funds are usually held via shell companies in tax
havens. It is not clear whether that is what Mr. Gulak's
Erojim Energy and Equipment, registered in the BVI on
June 8, 2006, set out to accomplish. The company, with
registration number 1032037, is listed on company website
as a subsidiary of Erojim Group of Companies to which Mr.
Gulak is directly affiliated. The offshore Erojim has
company chairman, Jimmy Ntuen Ernest (45,000 shares) and
a certain Wang Yong (5000 shares) as directors. Mr.
Yong, listed on company website as director of
commercials, is in turn related to around 40 other shell
corporations, raising questions about whether he is a
nominee director and what his real business motives are.
The Nigerian version of Erojim was incorporated in 2000
and it has, by its own admission, done businesses with
the Nigerian government through its ministries of defence
and education. It is not known whether Mr. Gulak has
tapped his closeness to the government to facilitate
businesses for Erojim. But it is common for officials in
Nigeria to use fronts to corner contracts for themselves.
Company documents suggest that Erojim BVI is inactive
having been struck out for non payment in October 31,
2007, but owners have continued to showcase the firm on
company website as a viable subsidiary in the British
Virgin Islands. The group also suggests it has two
subsidiaries in the United Kingdom - Barnes and Tubbies
Linited (with registration number 6620080) and Erojim
Investment Limited (with registration number 6620062)
raising even more questions about the company's seeming
fetish for incorporating offshore companies not known to
carry out business operations. Erojim's chairman seems to
peddle double identities as well. While he is known as
(Obong) Jimmy O.Ntuen on company website, he is
identified as Jimmy Ntuen Ernest in Erojim BVI's company
documents, again raising questions about his business
Mr. Gulak didn't answer or return calls. He also did not
reply to a text message seeking comments. Calls to the
number listed on company website were answered by a woman
who said she does not work in Erojim and had no
relationship with the company whatsoever. "This is my
personal number as you can see," she said, in a March 1
telephone exchange. An email enquiry bounced back,
suggesting that the email address listed on company
website is also not working.
Ex-petroleum minister, former ports chief and their
secret offshore company
In June 2008, Mr. Dakouru, 69, a former petroleum
minister and now a revered traditional ruler in Nigeria's
oil-rich but restive Niger Delta region, teamed up with
eight others - Aderemi Makanjuola, Olabode Makanjuola,
Adeniyi Makanjuola, Sola Falola David Vickers, Bello
Gwandu, Bashiru Bakare and Akin Kekere Ekun - to form
Caverton Offshore Support Group .
But in the run-up to the formation of the company,
brothers Adeniyi Makanjuola and Aderemi Makanjuola had,
on March 23, 2008, partnered with two other Singaporean
brothers , Claes Thortensen and Olav Thortensen, to
incorporate CT Offshore (W.Afica) Ltd, a shell company in
the British Virgin Islands.
Olav and Claes are chair and president respectively of
Thome Group of Companies, a Singaporean company which,
according to company website, "offers a wide range of
shipping services including full technical management of
every kind of oil and chemical tankers, LNG vessels and
other specialist tonnage."
A year later, March 28, 2009, Mr. Dakouru's Carveton
Offshore and the Thortensen's Thome Offshore Management
Pte Limited became directors/shareholders of CT Offshore.
The purpose for which the parties formed CT Offshore
remains unclear. Caverton Offshore is not known to refer
to CT Offshore as its subsidiary or investment vehicle.
The group's annual reports for 2009 and 2010 only
referred to Carverton Marine Ltd and Caverton Helicopters
Ltd as the company's only subsidiaries. The company's
website is also silent on the existence of CT Offshore
just as the Thome Group, joint owner of the secret
company, did not list CT Offshore among its six
subsidiaries. The cloak of secrecy around the company and
the unwillingness of its owner to discuss its existence
raise questions about the real reason for its
Caverton and its officials wouldn't comment for this
story. An official, Uteh Assang, who identified herself
as a personal assistant to Aderemi Makanjuola said owners
and top managers of the company were unavailable for
interview. She promised to pass our enquiry along to her
bosses who would then return our call. The call wasn't
returned. Subsequent calls were unanswered just as our
email enquiry was sent back by the company's server.
Top businessman, Samir Ajami and his secret Nigerian
Samir Ajami , an expatriate with American and European
roots, is well known in Nigeria as managing director of
Givanas Nigeria Limited (which produces consumer goods
such as milk, tomato paste, corned beef, sardine and
teabags) and Negatrex Limited (which specializes in the
production of soaps and beauty products). The
businessman is also known as one of the two trustees of
Givanas Charitable Foundation, which provides
scholarships to indigent university students and engages
in other philanthropist activities in the country.
What many Nigerians definitely do not know is that Mr.
Ajami has a third company concealed through a shell
company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands. That
company is Lagos-based Eko Resources Supreme Limited ,
which produces detergents and medicated soaps. Eko
Resources was incorporated in Nigeria on June 3, 2004
with its directors being Sadikin Sungkono and
Jokoraharjo Nur Bambang (both Indonesians) and WW Trade
Limited, a secret firm registered in the British Virgin
Islands. Out of the 3750000 shares that have been
allotted by Eko Supreme, WW Trade owns 3748000 while
Sungkono and Bambang hold one share each.
Mr. Ajami hid his interest in Eko Supreme by simply
buying into WW Trade at the British Virgin Islands. That
way, his name does not appear in company documents and
authorities definitely can't trace the company to him. It
is not known why the businessman decided on this tactic.
Calls to his offices in Lagos were not returned. Email
enquiries were also not responded to. However, hiding
ownership this way helps businessmen elsewhere to conceal
assets, evade tax and become monopolies through fronts.
WW Trade was incorporated in the BVI on November 5, 2001
with 50,000 allotted shares and authorized capital of
$50,000. The eight directors at inception were Teddy
Jeffrey Katuari, Freddy Ignatius Katuari, Eddy William
Katuari, Finney Henry Katuari, Hanny Sutanto, Alex Ivan
Tanojo, Handoyo Sutanto and Gen Tijn Tan. By September
15, 2005, ownership had changed, leaving Samuel Chee Wee
Seng, Sungkono Sadikin and Edwin Katuari as directors and
on October 10, 2005, without a meeting of directors, the
authorized capital of the company was raised from $50,000
to $20,000,000, divided into 20,000,000 shares of $1 per
And on July 1, 2007, Mr. Ajami became a director of the
company. But that was after acquiring a total of 3,
907,692 of the company in five installments: 1,333,333
(Nov. 4, 2005), 666,667 (July 22, 2006), 307,692 (Aug.
23, 2006), 1,200,000 (Dec 22, 2006) and 400,000 (February
23, 2007). He is currently the second largest shareholder
in the company, behind only Universal Wellbeing Pte Ltd,
a Singaporean Real Estate Developers, which has a total
of 12,700,900 shares. By implication , Mr. Ajami is the
second largest owner of Lagos-based Supreme Resources,
although the company describes itself as a subsidiary of
Wing Corporation, an Indonesian company that exports
detergents, soaps, foods and beverages around the world.
Mr. Ajami didn't respond to our request for comments.
When a call was placed to his office on March 2, an
official, Bola Arowosegbe, requested that questions be
emailed directly to her. "Message received and shall be
directed to Mr. Ajami," Mrs Arowosegbe later wrote in
response to our email. "He shall revert soon."
Mr. Ajami is however yet to respond.
URLs in this post:
 Premium Times:
 International Consortium of Investigative
 Erojim Group of Companies:
 Edmund Daukouru:
 estimated in 2002:
 Offshore Support Group:
 Samir Ajami:
 Eko Resources Supreme Limited:
 International Consortium of Investigative
 Premium Times, ICIJ, BBC, Washington Post, 35 Others
Lift Veil On Secret Offshore World:
 A presidential adviser (Ahmed Gulak) and his
dangerous polemics, By Garba Shehu:
 GLOBAL INVESTIGATION: Inside the Offshore Global
 Fire rages, as two still missing in Chevron Nigeria
offshore rig incident:
 Government may stop offshore oil facilities:
Excerpts from "Who Uses the Offshore World"
Nalinee TaveesinNalinee Taveesin
International trade representative, former government
Details: In 2008, Taveesin was designated as one of four
"Mugabe regime cronies" by the U.S. Department of the
Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). The
OFAC statement read, "Nalinee Taveesin has participated
in a number of initiatives on corruption and growth
challenges in Africa and Southeast Asia while secretly
supporting the kleptocratic practices of one of Africa's
most corrupt regimes." This statement became a point of
controversy in Thailand when Taveesin was appointed
minister for the prime minister's office in January 2012.
She strongly denied the allegations, saying that her
relationship with Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe and
his wife is "strictly social" and that she is a victim of
guilt by association.
Offshore business: Taveesin and her brother Anuraj Mishra
in 2008 bought a company called Hall Kingston
International Limited that had recently been incorporated
in the British Virgin Islands. They appear in the
documents as directors and shareholders. The offshore
company was acquired shortly after Taveesin's first
appointment to a political position, as secretary to the
commerce minister in 2008. The company does not appear in
her 2012 public statement of assets. Though the company
still exists, according to records in the BVI, it is
unclear whether it had to be publicly declared.
Comment: Taveesin's secretary Ms. Supavadee responded
that "She [Taveesin] strongly affirmed that she had
neither known nor heard about this so-called Hall
Kingston. The information about her being [a company]
shareholder is incorrect," When asked if it was possible
that Taveesin's brother, Anuraj Mishra, was a shareholder
of Hall Kingston International Limited, Supavadee
repeated, "She [Taveesin] had no knowledge about the
company and none of her family members were involved in
"Billy" RautenbachMuller Conrad "Billy" Rautenbach
Details: Zimbabwean millionaire with close links to the
Mugabe regime. The United States blacklisted him saying
he has helped organized huge mining projects in Zimbabwe
that "benefit a small number of corrupt senior
officials." Rautenbach fled South Africa in 1999 after
being accused of fraud. The charges lodged personally
against him were dismissed, but a South African company
he controlled pleaded guilty to criminal charges and paid
a fine of roughly $4 million.
Offshore business: Shareholder of Artemis Group, LTD.
(2006) in the British Virgin Islands.
Comment: Rautenbach denies U.S. authorities' allegations,
contending that they made "significant factual and legal
errors" in their blacklisting decision, his attorney, Ian
Small Smith, said. Smith said Rautenbach's BVI company
was set up as "special purpose vehicle for investment in
Moscow" and that it complied with all disclosure
regulations. The company is no longer active.
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