The Federal Government has established Nigeria’s Open Register of Beneficial Ownership of Companies to promoting transparency and accountability.
Inaugurating the register, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo said the initiative, under Corporate Affairs Commission’s mandate (CAC), would support anti-corruption efforts in Nigeria and globally.
Mr Babagana Alkali, Director of Policy, Research and Statistics in the ministry represented the minister.
Adebayo described the register as an essential tool for promoting transparency and accountability.
“The beneficial ownership register is a treasured tool in promoting transparency and accountability in private and public space.
“It also helps in the fight against corruption, money laundering and financing of terrorism.
“Today’s launch of beneficial ownership register will help Nigeria fulfil its obligation.
“It’ll equally grow GDP and help aspiration of an owner to become member of financial action task force,” he said.
According to him, Section 119(3) of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) mandates the Corporate Affairs Commission to develop and deploy a register for beneficial ownership information register.
He said companies committed 70 per cent of corruption cases through corporate behaviours.
Adebayo, however, said the register would make it difficult for corrupt individuals and terrorists to conceal illicit financial transactions.
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“The register, being invented today, underscores the importance this government attaches to the fight against corruption, money laundering and terrorism financing.
“The government is also committed to fighting financing of arms and weapon of mass destruction,’’ he said.
Earlier, the Registrar-General of CAC, Alhaji Garba Abubakar, said with the introduction of the register, any person could easily ascertain who owns what in Nigerian companies and limited liability partnerships.
“The register will greatly enhance the fight against corruption and criminality.
“It will facilitate investigations by law enforcement agencies into the true ownership and control of companies and limited liability partnerships.
“The register also support Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in promoting citizens’ participation in public accountability and governance.
“It will further strengthening the capacity of the media to perform their traditional roles as watchdogs of the society,’’ Abubakar said.
In his goodwill message, Director-General Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Lambo Yuguda, said that without knowing who the beneficial owners of a company are, it is possible for illicit financial transactions and tax evasion to happen.
Similarly, Hajiya Saratu Shafi, Chairman of the Federal Competition and Consumer Tribunal, commended the CAC for the inauguration of the register.
Shafi said that the register would assist the tribunal to handle issues concerning consumers and companies.
“I know it is going to be important to us,” she said.
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