…Checkmates Secret Ownership of Companies

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Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja

The federal government has declared that it is considering a public register of beneficial owners of companies that will henceforth make it impossible for secret ownership of companies and properties in Nigeria.

This was disclosed yesterday by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, at Open Government Partnership (OGP ) held at the NAF Centre in Abuja.

Mustapha said covert ownership of companies would now be a thing of the past, when a public register of beneficial owners of companies is open and operational.
The SGF also announced that the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) has given government assurances that in the immediate future, necessary dossier of persons with significant control over incorporated companies will be generated and made available on demand.

Mustapha said with all these complimentary efforts in place, he was upbeat that investigation of individuals involved in companies used for acts of corruption will become easier and seamless.
He applauded the relentless efforts of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, who is also the co-chair of the OGP National Steering Committee and members of the committee made up of non-state actors, government institutions and the OGP Secretariat for making the initiative possible.

The SGF said open governance would stem corruption and would encourage citizens’ participation in decision making in consonance with the goals and aspirations of the administration.
He said in the next two weeks, the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) would upload its upgraded website (OSGF.GOV.NG) which has a window for citizens’ participation.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, declared the event open.

“The global Open Government Partnership Week provides an opportunity for us to review the progress we have made so far in implementing the National Action Plan approved by Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in December 2016 and to discuss how we all can synergize our efforts and programmes. This administration has introduced policies and legislations that will help achieve goals set out in our OGP Commitments,” Mustapha said.

He faulted the statistics that have been bandied by many international organisations about the extent of corruption in Nigeria.
He said many of the institutions that produced the figures did not understand the contextual peculiarities of the corruption problem in Nigeria, prompting them to generalise and arrive at hasty conclusions which paint a picture of perception that is far from reality.