By Ibiyemi Mathew
The Registrar-General of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Alhaji Garba Abubakar, has said the commission will make known public the profiles of owners of companies in the country.
The Registrar-General disclosed this in Abuja at the International Peer Learning Workshop on the Use of Beneficial Ownership Information and the Launch of Nigeria’s Open Register of Beneficial Ownership of Companies and Entities.
The workshop organised by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in collaboration with the World Bank drew participants from the United Kingdom, Slovakia, Cameroun, and Zambia, amongst other countries heralds the launch of Nigeria’s Open Register of Beneficial Ownership of Companies.
Speaking at the workshop, Abubakar said the register when unveiled, will be open to the public where everyone can view records of shareholders of companies online free of charge.
He added that the initiative was aimed at supporting anti-corruption efforts in Nigeria and the world.
“The essence of getting the beneficial ownership information is to support the anti-corruption initiative of the government. Companies are the vehicles being used for corruption, illicit financial flow, and terrorism financing. When our investigating agencies are doing their investigation, they will be able to track those responsible for some of these illegal activities.”
While emphasising that innocent people do not have anything to worry about the initiative, Abubakar said that companies are required to disclose the persons that own the companies from the point of incorporation.
“In the past, the law allows one to incorporate companies using a corporate arrangement that makes it impossible to know the ultimate beneficiaries of these companies. The concept of separate legal personality has changed, they are now required to disclose the natural persons that own these companies from the point of incorporation and when there is any change.
“So, this information is for use by investigation agencies, the media, and civil society, and the whole essence is to ensure transparency and make this information available. If we have information to the contrary as to what is actually disclosed in the register then we can escalate.
“The register is supposed to support the anti-corruption initiative of the government and it is a global requirement,” Abubakar said.
Garba Abubakar said Investigation Agencies, Civil Society Organizations, Journalists and interested members of the public can leverage the BOR to fight corruption and other related matters free of charge.
The workshop continues tomorrow, May 25, 2023, with the formal launch of the Beneficial Ownership Register to be performed by Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment,Otunba Niyi Adebayo.