The global Chief Executive Officer of Open Government Partnership (OGP) Sanjay Pradian has said Nigeria can save over $15billion illicit financial flows if it is able to eliminate anonymous ownership of companies through the implementation of Beneficial Ownership register by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
Sanjay disclosed that findings by the World Bank revealed that between 1980-2010, 70 percent of corruption cases involved anonymous shell companies, adding that it is estimated that elimination of anonymous companies will help put a stop to $15billion illicit funds that flows out of Nigeria yearly.
He said: “If the government must fight corruption, it has to unmask the real owners of the companies, and when they are getting a public procurement contract, you will be able to know who is getting what contract and if there are red flags one can easily point it out.’
The OGP CEO while speaking at a multi-stakeholder meeting on Nigeria Beneficial Ownership Register yesterday, in Abuja, stated that passage of the Company and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) was a big step undertaken by the government in the fight against corruption, saying the ownership register would further see to the implementation of the Act.
He further stressed the need to link the register with procurement contracts such that non-state actors will get to know the name behind each contract.
He disclosed that Nigeria is one of the 30 countries that have signed up to implement the beneficial ownership transparency index that is ending anonymous companies, adding that the intention is to share the Beneficial register among member countries.
The Registrar-General of Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) Alh Garuba Abubakar disclosed that the commission had developed the Beneficial Ownership Register since January 2022, adding that the register allows people to view the beneficial owners of companies across Nigeria.
He said the development of the register has shown that the government is committed to the fight against corruption, transparency, and open government contracts as well as operating with the best standards as obtainable in the world.
He, however, pointed out that to ensure verification of information and ensure integrity of the system, the government wants to integrate the Register with the National Identification Management Commission (NIMC) such that CAC do not approve any company registration until they have verified their information from NIMC.
Abubakar stated that they have perfected the process such that names of people submitted to them can be identified and traceable, saying the era where people cloned names submitted to them is gone.
He disclosed that although the system has been in place since January 3, 2021, the commission is taking it to a higher level such that Nigerians can search any company’s name and see the beneficial owners.