It has come to light that Bola Tinubu, the president-elect of Nigeria, has been maintaining a portion of his wealth in the United Kingdom. Tinubu and his close associates are reported to possess a minimum of 20 properties in the UK, which were predominantly procured during his tenure as the governor of Lagos State. It is worth noting that Tinubu’s victory in the February elections is currently being contested in court.
According to reports, after the 2023 presidential election, it has been announced that Tinubu is set to assume the presidency on May 29, 2023, succeeding Muhammadu Buhari. According to his adversaries, the electoral process has been tampered with.
Tinubu who is 71 years of age is widely recognised as Nigeria’s political influencer due to his significant contribution in the elections of numerous governors in the southwest region of the country. Additionally, he played a crucial role in the election of Buhari, who emerged victorious over the incumbent in 2015.
The appointed governors exhibited a tendency towards being former directors of companies owned by either Tinubu or his son.
According to a report by Bloomberg on Tuesday, it has been revealed that Oluwaseyi Tinubu, son of Tinubu, is the primary shareholder of Aranda Overseas Corporation, an offshore entity that acquired a contentious U.K. property for US$10.8 million in 2017.
According to OCCRP’s Nigerian partner, Premium Times, during the time of purchase, Nigeria was attempting to seize a London property owned by a Nigerian oil dealer who was facing corruption allegations both domestically and in the United States.
OCCRP has discovered over twelve additional properties that are connected to Tinubu, primarily obtained during his tenure as the governor of Lagos State from May 1999 to May 2007. The spokesperson for Tinubu did not provide a response to the email and text messages requesting a comment.
Steve Goodrich, the Head of Research and Investigations at Transparency International U.K., stated that if there are justifiable reasons to believe that these assets were acquired using illicit funds, then they ought to be subject to scrutiny. According to him, the practise of acquiring a home through an offshore company has rarely been a viable option, except for the purpose of maintaining confidentiality.
Tinubu’s past is not entirely without blemish. In 1993, a U.S. District Court in Illinois ruled that he was obligated to surrender $460,000 to the U.S. government as profits from drug trafficking.
Approximately one year later, Flat 9 located at 96-100 New Cavendish Street in London was purchased by Abeeb Holdings Limited, an offshore company registered in Gibraltar, with Tinubu identified as the beneficial owner.
The Register of Overseas Entities has brought to light the individual’s association with Abeeb Holdings Limited. This measure, implemented by the U.K., aims to disclose the actual proprietors of offshore companies that possess real estate in the country.
In 2011, Flat 10A in the same building was purchased by Aranda Overseas Corporation, which is owned by his son. The lease agreement was executed by Oladipo Eludoyin, a director of Aranda Overseas Corporation, who is an associate of Tinubu.
Eludoyin serves as the founding director of Aranda Resources Limited, a Nigerian-based company that is wholly owned by Aranda Overseas Corporation.
According to OCCRP’s investigation, it has been determined that Eludoyin is the proprietor of 17 properties located in the United Kingdom. These properties are held through three offshore companies that are registered in the British Virgin Islands.
The properties belonging to Eludoyin were acquired during the period spanning from 2004 to 2007, during the tenure of Tinubu as the Governor of Lagos State. The individual in question did not provide a response to the request for comment.
Babatunde Fashola, who formerly held the position of Chief of Staff, succeeded Tinubu. Mr. Fashola was also involved with Aranda Resources Limited. In December 2001, he submitted and delivered the share allocation of Aranda Resources Limited to the corporate registry of Nigeria. There was no response from the spokesperson of Fashola when contacted for comment.
After his tenure as the governor, Tinubu continued to hold significant political influence. According to reports from local media, he selected Babajide Sanwo-Olu as the Governor of Lagos State in 2019, despite requests from his political party to permit Sanwo-Olu’s predecessor to serve a second term.
Mr. Sanwo-Olu served as a director at Aranda Resources Limited until 26 days prior to assuming office as governor in May 2019. The spokesperson failed to respond to comment requests.
Adegboyega Oyetola, who serves as a director of both Aranda Resources Limited and Aranda Overseas Corporation, was elected as the governor of the Nigerian southwestern state of Osun in 2018. The electoral victory was widely attributed to the efforts of Tinubu.
The timeline regarding the younger Tinubu’s acquisition of beneficial ownership is unclear. However, it is known that Aranda Overseas Corporation was established in November 1999 in the tax haven British Virgin Islands. At that time, the younger Tinubu was 14 years old and had recently enrolled at Milton Abbey School in England for his secondary education. Meanwhile, his father had just completed a six-month tenure as the governor of Lagos State.