UK Authorities Dissolve Peter Obi’s Company, Next International
By Alabidun Shuaib AbdulRahman
The UK government has officially struck off Next International (UK) Limited, owned by the Nigerian presidential candidate for the Labour Party, Peter Obi, for failing to submit its annual accounts
An investigation conducted by PREMIUM TIMES has revealed that Next International (UK) Limited was dissolved in 2021 following a compulsory strike off imposed by the UK’s Companies House for non-submission of annual accounts for the year 2020.
The strike off process, which began in September 2021, resulted in the removal of the company’s details from the Companies House register, effectively ending its existence.
INCNews247 gathered that UK has a process in place for removing companies from the register if they fail to file their annual accounts.
Before a company is struck off, the Companies House’s Registrar will send at least two formal letters to the company warning that failure to file the accounts will result in removal from the register.
If the company does not respond to these letters, Companies House will then publish a first “strike off notice” in the Gazette, which is the official journal of public record.
In the case of Next International, the first official notice to strike off the company was issued on June 22, 2021, followed by a second notice on August 31, 2021.
A final gazette to dissolve the company was issued on September 7, 2021. Prior to this, records show that for four consecutive years (2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020), the UK Companies House had issued a “first gazette notice for compulsory strike-off” to Next International before the company filed its annual accounts.
A private limited company, Next International was incorporated on 16t May 1996. Mr Obi was listed as a director while his wife, Margaret, served as secretary.
Next International (Nigeria) Limited (with 999 ordinary shares) and Mr Obi (with one ordinary share) were listed as shareholders.
Records show that the company was registered as business “agents involved in the sale of a variety of goods” in England and Wales.
The firm reported taking a mortgage from Lloyds TSB Bank Plc for a property on 53 Clyde Road, Croydon.
On 16 May 2008, 14 months after assuming duties as governor of Anambra State, Mr Obi resigned as the director of Next International.
He took office on March 17, 2006 but continued to serve as a director of the company in violation of Nigerian law.
In Nigeria, a person is statutorily required to withdraw from engaging in or directing a private business, except if it is farming, upon becoming a public officer, Section Six (6) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act provides.
The former governor admitted to PREMIUM TIMES in 2021 that he did not declare these companies and the funds and properties they held in his asset declaration filings with the Code of Conduct Bureau, the Nigerian government agency that deals with the issues of corruption, conflict of interest, and abuse of office by public servants.
At the time, Mr Obi said he was unaware that the law expected him to declare assets or companies he jointly owns with his family members or anyone else.