Anti-Corruption: Corporate Affairs Commission Unveils Beneficial Ownership Register

By Miriam Humbe

In a move to conform to best international transparency practices with regards to corporate good governance, the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) would unveil the Beneficial Ownership Register (BOR) on Thursday.

The Registrar General CAC, Garba Abubakar said at the pre-event to unveiling of the Beneficial Ownership Register (BOR) to the public that everyone would then view records of shareholders of companies online free of charge.

CAC said this was aimed at, among other things, supporting the anti-corruption efforts of government in Nigeria and around the world.

Abubakar said the launch would happen tomorrow (Thursday), “but before the launch, we have brought experts from different parts of the world.”

He said companies were the avenues for corruption, for Illicit-Financial Flows, or for terrorism Financing.

He said: “Unless you know those behind the scenes, even our Investigation agencies will not be able to track those responsible for some of these activities.”

In past, people who committed acts of promoting illicit-financial flows or terrorism financing could hide under a veil of incorporation.

Now, CAC’s Registrar General, Abubakar said that: “Innocent people don’t have anything to worry. The concept of separate legal personalities or the concept of lifting the Corporate veil, now, this concept has changed.”

In essence, the Registrar-General said that the Register, will avail to the public, records of share holders of companies via its portal free of charge.

He said this is one of the few informations that is publicly available to the entire members of the public at no cost.

He said: “And so the whole essence of it is to support the anti corruption initiative of the government.

“We cannot talk of terrorism-financing, money-laundering, ilicit-financial flows without talking about companies.”

Abubakar said that the BOR supported the anti-corruption initiative and it’s a global requirement because under the transparency initiative which Nigeria has subscribed to, countries are required to implement it.

The CAC boss hoped that with full Implementation of the register, investigations would be facilitated as informations would be open to the civil society, media and the general public to interrogate and ask questions.

He said President Muhammadu Buhari in 2016 had talked about implementing a publicly available Register.

Abubakar said: “So what we’re doing today as a prelude to the launch, is actually to give effect to the commitment made by Mr. President.

“Nigeria is one of the countries among the comity of nations that support the global mission against corruption and terrorism financing.”

He said that the country’s anti-corruption agencies would have access to the information for their use.

He said: “We will continue to do that. Our own is to collect the data and publish and for them to use”.

The Registrar General said that when discrepancies arise, if in the course of their Investigation, they discover that the names in the CAC register are different from what the anti-corruption investigators found, “then this matter will be reported to us and that will be a ground for us to initiate Investigation and even prosecute those that have made false declarations”.

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