series of leaked documents revealed that three children of Former National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki concealed undisclosed assets in tax havens.
A Pandora Papers project led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and which Premium Times is a part of revealed the leaked files that were obtained from 14 offshore services firms throughout the world.
According to the investigation, Leno Adesanya, a Nigerian multibillionaire businessman, sought Trident Trust Company Limited, a secrecy vendor in the British Virgin Islands, in 2013 to assist Dasuki’s family members in forming a shell company called Hydropower Investments Limited.
Adesanya stated in the formation documents that Hydropower Investment was established to own real estate and investment portfolios.
The businessman further stated that the company would hold 1.5 million shares in Sino Africa (Nigeria) Limited, a 19-year-old company in which he (Adesanya) and a certain Uche Nwokedi serve as directors, on behalf of the Dasuki family.
Hydropower Investments will also hold 10 million shares in Sunrise Power & Transmission (Nigeria) Co. Limited for the Dasukis, according to company documents. Sunrise Power & Transmission (Nigeria) Co. Limited is involved in a long-running legal battle with the Nigerian government over the Mambilla power project. The legal battle is preventing the Chinese EXIM Bank from providing crucial money for the Mambilla project, an ambitious electricity producing infrastructure that is seen as critical to resolving Nigeria’s long-running power problem.
Hydropower Investments, a shell business, was created on November 14, 2013, with Adesanya and Abubakar Atiku Dasuki, the son of former National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki, as directors.
Despite the fact that Adesanya is the company’s public face and uses his Lagos house as the offshore firm’s contact address, he owns no stock. Abubakar Atiku Dasuki owns 17,000 shares in the company while Hassan Sultan Dasuki and Asmau Iman Dasuki are the company’s ultimate beneficial owners and shareholders with 16,500 shares.
At the time the company was founded, Abubakar was 31 years old, and Hassan and Asmau were 18 years old respectively.
The three shareholders are the daughters of former National Secuirty Adviser, Dasuki, who was one of Nigeria’s most influential persons at the time the firm was formed, and were given a total of 11.5 million shares in Adesanya’s companies, Sunrise and Sino Africa.
Dasuki or his children are not believed to have paid for the shares. When Trident Trust Company inquired about how the shareholders planned to acquire the assets, Adesanya just gave a vague response, saying the assets would be “carried interest through a loan to be arranged by the project’s sponsor (Leno Adesanya).”
The $6 billion Mambilla power project, which was awarded to Adesanya’s company, Sunrise Powers and Transmission Company Limited, but later became the subject of an intense business dispute and power play, was the second business snag that Adesanya battled to resolve during the Jonathan administration.
Due to difficulties surrounding the granting of the contract to Sunrise Power, the Mambilla power project, which was first envisaged in the 1970s and was intended to produce 3,050 megawatts of electricity, has been suspended.
The award followed a 2003 deal signed by President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration to build, operate, and transfer the 3,050MW plant in Mambilla, Taraba State.
The Jonathan administration, in which Dasuki was a key player, fought tirelessly to break the impasse. For example, in 2012, the president of the United States urged the Ministry of Power to expedite an amicable resolution of a disagreement stemming from various litigation.
The Ministry then began talks with the contractual partners who were bidding against each other. The government, Adesanya’s Sunrise Power and Transmission Company Limited (SPTCL), and Sinohydro Corporation of China signed a General Project Execution Agreement on November 23, 2012, as a result of the discussions and negotiations.
In fact, things moved so quickly that the Federal Ministry of Power awarded the project to Sinohydro Corporation, China’s CGGC, and Sunrise Power in January 2015, with Sunrise serving as the project’s local content partner.
It is unclear whether Dasuki provided any assistance to Adesanya and his company. But it was during that time – November 2013 – that Adesanya quietly set up Hydropower Investments for the Dasukis, awarding them 10 million Sunrise Power shares and 1.5 million shares in another of his firms, Sino Africa.
The legal wrangling resumed after the Jonathan government left office, and it has remained unresolved, delaying the Mambilla project once more.
“The children wanted to start conducting business,” Adesanya stated through his representative, adding that “I recommended them to establish up an offshore corporation for discretionary purposes.”
According to experts in the field of illegal finance, such schemes are sometimes used to funnel bribes to corrupt officials or to repay favours that have already been given or that are expected to be given.
In response to a question, Dasuki stated that he did not request that Adesanya register the corporation for his children through a representative. He claims that business people occasionally provide government officials with unasked-for favors without their awareness.
Furthermore, he stated that his children were grownups capable of making their own business judgments.