The Global Chief Executive Officer, Open Government Partnership (OGP), Sanjay Pradhan, has urged the Nigerian government to help curb corruption in the system by disclosing who the real owners of companies are in the country.
While speaking at the Multi-stakeholders Meeting on Nigeria Beneficial Ownership Register which held in Abuja on Wednesday, 27th July, 2022, the Global OGP CEO said ending anonymous Shell companies would help put a stop to 15 billion dollars of illicit funds that flow out of Nigeria.
In his words; “Corrupt proceeds, illicit financial flows, terrorist financing, all of these hide in anonymous shell companies, but you don’t know who the owners are because people steal money, and they put it overseas in the developed countries. If Nigeria has to fight corruption it has to disclose who the real owners of companies are.”
Beneficial Ownership is important, the World bank estimates that between 1980 to 2010, 70% of all the major corruption cases involved anonymous shell companies”. He added.
He however lauded the Nigerian Government for being among the seven countries that has joined the Beneficial Ownership Leadership Group.
Meanwhile, The Open Government Partnership National Coordinator, Dr. Gloria Ahmed said Agencies or Individuals who hold back information required about their organizations, will be sentenced to two years jail term.
According to her, Civil Society Organisations and other relevant stakeholders are interested in knowing the real faces behind some of the mega companies in Nigeria, in order to ensure that profits made are reinvested in the country for the development of the nation’s development.
“In the past we’ve had people come from outside the country, establish companies, make money here and take these monies out to sponsor activities like terrorism. This time we want to know the real faces behind these mega companies, and to ensure these funds or profits made are reinvested in the country for the development of the Nigeria”.
The Nigerian Beneficial Ownership Register will give access to company ownership information to the government, companies and citizens, empowering them with the knowledge they need to investigate malicious company behavior and hold them accountable.