How Senator Stella Oduah reportedly paid N5billion in cash for London houses

Oduah retained her directorship of the company while holding public office, according to the report, a move that contravenes Nigeria's laws.

Senator Stella Oduah (Punch)

Senator Stella Oduah, who represents Anambra North in the upper legislative chamber, secretly bought London apartments worth N5billion in cash, from 2012 to 2014--a period in which she served as Nigeria's Aviation Minister--according to investigative reporting in the Pandora Papers.

Pandora Papers is a leak of almost 12 million documents that reveals hidden wealth, tax avoidance and, in some cases, money laundering by some of the world's rich and powerful.

The Pandora Papers details how rich and powerful individuals from across the world-- including more than 330 politicians from 90 countries--launder money by setting up businesses in tax havens like the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, as well as in countries like Switzerland and Singapore.

Nigeria's Premium Times, which is a member of the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), reports that Oduah incorporated International Trading and Logistics Company Limited (ITCL) in the tax haven of Seychelles.

She then used the company to acquire four London properties worth a total of 6.7 million pounds between October 2012 and August 2013.

At the current exchange rate, that translates to approximately N5.2billion at the parallel market rate of N775 to a pound sterling.

On July 12, 2011, just days after her assumption of office as Aviation Minister, Oduah used ITCL Nigeria to buy Flats 303 and 306 Grant House, 90 Liberty Street and London SW9 0BZ.

Records show that none of the four properties was bought with mortgage financing, meaning Oduah secretly routed 6.7 million pounds through her offshore company to anonymously effect the acquisitions, according to the report.

It is unclear if she declared some or all of the properties and the offshore company ITCL to the Code of Conduct of Bureau (CCB). The senator did not respond to requests for comments from journalists.

President Goodluck Jonathan fired Oduah from her position of Aviation Minister on February 12, 2014, after she was indicted by two panels for purchasing two bullet-proof cars for the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for N255 million, in breach of public procurement and appropriation laws.

She dumped the PDP for the governing APC in August.

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