- The Alliance for Progressive Professionals has lamented over what it calls the media persecution of Mohammed Bello-Koko
- The Acting Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority was named in an investigative report recently concerning tax havens
- The group noted that Bello-Koko did not commit any crime in seeking investments in a foreign land
Kaduna - A northern group, Alliance for Progressive Professionals has described the call for the sack of the Acting Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko, as misleading, mischievous, and politically motivated.
This was contained in a statement issued after an emergency meeting of the group in Kaduna to review the security situation in Northern Nigeria and other emerging issues.
In the statement sent to Legit.ng on Sunday, October 10, the group described the youth association known as Unified Nigeria Youth Forum as a faceless organization likely made up of political hirelings sponsored by disgruntled persons to undermine the country's interest.
The statement, signed by the Secretary-General of the group, Mallam Hamza Abdullahi, commended the efforts of investigative journalists and watchdog organizations that led to the leakage of the operations in global secrecy jurisdictions.
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However, it cautioned the public to avoid hasty generalizations and desist from drawing imaginary conclusions from media trials that are often politically motivated.
Part of the statement read:
“When significant leakage like this happens, there is often a global outrage which may lead to different interpretations.
“From what we know, there is nothing wrong with investing in a tax haven because of low tax rates, and according to international laws registering a trust or a shell company is not a crime on its own.
“What must be established is the source of funds and whether they can be linked to questionable or politically exposed persons.”
In the specific case of Mr. Mohammed Bello-Koko, the group stated thus:
“We have examined the allegations against the NPA boss, and it is clear that no case of criminality has been established against him yet. Like many business people, he invested in a low tax jurisdiction and did not break any law in the process.
“The funds he invested were not proceeds of crime and cannot be linked to any illicit sources. He did not hide his identity from anyone ab-initio. He could have used proxies, but he did not.
“He reportedly provided evidence of his investments to relevant authorities upon his appointment as contained in his asset declaration documents. The ongoing media persecution is unnecessary and unjustifiable.”
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Similarly, there were claims in the report that Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun owns a building in the United Kingdom.
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However, the Osun governor denied the allegation and distanced himself from a certain firm through which he was accused to have bought the property.
Oyetola on Saturday, October 9, noted that he resigned from his position in the company in 2011 when he became former Governor Rauf Aregbesola's chief of staff.