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Home Sectors BUSINESS & ECONOMY CAC Ownership Register Will Stop $15bn Illicit Export – Sanjay

CAC Ownership Register Will Stop $15bn Illicit Export – Sanjay

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Sanjay Pradhan, the global chief executive officer of the Open Government Partnership, claims that using the Beneficial Ownership Register maintained by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) will halt the illegal export of $15 billion from Nigeria.

At a multi-stakeholder meeting on Nigeria’s Beneficial Ownership Register held on Wednesday, Pradhan addressed the audience and made this statement.

The OGP boss claimed that if the registry was implemented credibly, it might reveal otherwise hidden shell businesses.

He said, “The World Bank estimates that between 1980 to 2010, 70 per cent of all the major corruption cases involved anonymous shell companies. That is why this is so important. When beneficial ownership registry can be created and credibly implemented, it can shed a spotlight, a sunlight on these anonymous shell companies.  And it can help stem-get this number- $15bn  of illicit flows out of Nigeria”.

“I can tell you when you look at the Panama Papers, the Paradise papers, the Pandora papers, all of those papers unmasked massive illicit wealth stashed in anonymous companies, which was escaping the public oversight completely”.

“That is what is at stake here. And that is why Nigeria got the OGP Impact Award for this effort you’ve started and that’s why as I understand it, some civil society activists in Nigeria, have said that the Companies and Allied Matters Law is one of the most significant laws in decades that Nigeria has had. So that’s why this is so important”.

The Registrar-General of the CAC, Garba Abubakar, stated that the President’s commitment to implementing a publicly accessible register of beneficial ownership was reflected in the public exhibition of the register.

The BOR system, he said, had been in use since January 2021, but it had just lately been converted to an open data format.

“The system has been in place since the 3rd of January 2021. But we’re taking it to a higher level. We’re making it an open data format. If you check our data, if you go to (search.cac.gov.ng), and put the name of any company, any company that’s registered from 3rd January to date, and any company that has filed its returns, annual returns to date, you can see the beneficial owners, you can see the persons with significant control”.

 “By open data format, anybody interested can download this information and can analyze it. You can query the database to know where somebody has featured in different companies, to know multiple beneficial issues.”

According to Abubakar, the register’s main purpose was to make it easier for people, security, law enforcement, and investigative agencies, as well as civil society organisations, to review this information in real-time and combat corruption.

While urging civil society organisations to test the platform for the beneficial ownership record, Dr. Tayo Aduloju, chief operating officer of the Nigeria Economic Summit Group, stated that “the validation of the register will come from testing.” The system had produced the supply, he said, but there still needed to be demand.

In 2016, Nigeria became one of the 77 member countries of the Open Government Partnership, joining Armenia, Kenya, Latvia, Mexico, Norway, the Slovak Republic, and the United Kingdom as members of its Beneficial Ownership Leadership Group.


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