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February 22, 2024
You are currently viewing New BOR ‘ll help fight terrorist financing, money laundering – CAC

New BOR ‘ll help fight terrorist financing, money laundering – CAC

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By Adekunle Williams/Rukayat Moisemhe

The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) says new Beneficiary Ownership Registrar (BOR) will help the anti-corruption agencies in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing in the country.

The Registrar-General, CAC, Alhaji Garba Abubakar, made this disclosure at the free training workshop on the use of BOR, organised by the commission in Lagos on Tuesday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that BOR is a portal to enable users to find the Person with Significant Control (PSC) of any entity when a search is initiated with either of the following parameters: entity’s name, entity’s number, PSC first name, and PSC surname.

Abubakar explained that the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) had been reviewed and reenacted in 2020, to provide a legal framework to support the BOR.

He noted that this was why  CAC was sensitising individuals, corporate organisations and civil societies on the use of BOR, which would further help to support the Federal Government’s anti-corruption drive.

“This is just a training session on the use of the Beneficial Ownership Register. The register was launched on May 23. This is a public register of Beneficiary Ownership Companies in Nigeria.

“The register was developed and designed in line with Nigeria’s commitment under the open government policy as well as the Extractive Transparency policy initiative to have a central register of Beneficiary Ownership of Companies.

“The register will help the government in the fight against corruption because you can easily tell who wants what in the Nigerian company.

“The register also tells you if the person is a politically exposed person.

“The register will also support the work of our anti-corruption agencies, the civil society and media organisations.

“You can easily query the database to know who wants what and the information is publicly available at no cost to the person that is searching for the information,” he said.

Abubakar said the minimum disclosure of information on its database was put at five per cent of the company’s shares.

The registrar-general added that in some countries, they were not obliged to disclose if a person owned shares less than 25 per cent.

He, however, noted that in Nigeria, various stakeholders had agreed that the disclosure should start from five per cent.

“This means if you have five per cent of shares of any company or control five per cent of the voting rights or you control five per cent of the way a company is being managed.

“Also, if by virtue of your position either within or outside the company you control the appointment of a majority of the directors of that company, then you have to disclose it in the register,” he said.

According to him, the era of using complex structures to hide the actual identity of owners of the company is gone.

He said before the initiative, people hid their ownership using complex arrangements but under the new law, they must disclose the person that actually owned the company at the point of registration.

Abubakar said the era of the owner hiding under another person to control a company was gone because they were required by law to disclose who owns what.

He noted that the law required that a beneficiary must disclose to the company within 30 days, and the company had to file to the CAC within seven days.

According to him, failure to make this disclosure or delay in the submission of the information, then the beneficiary pays a daily default penalty of N10,000 as the defaulting lasts.

Abubakar said if the beneficiary made a wrong or false disclosure knowing fully well that what he or she was submitting was wrong, then that was criminal and on conviction the person was liable to three years imprisonment.

Similarly, Chairman, Nigeria Bar Association, Session of Business Law (NBA-SBL), Dr Adeoye Adefulu, urged his members to adhere strictly to all the laws governing the policy.

Adefulu said they should take notes of sanctions that were related to not providing information on time and not providing the information at all or providing correct or wrongful information.

He said the NBA-SBL would also support members who advised companies across the country on this development of BOR.

Adefulu thanked the registrar-general for the 80 per cent success at the regulatory clinic organised by the CAC.

Participants at the event included lawyers, public analysts, journalists and Civil Society Orgsnisations. (NAN)

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Edited by Kamal Tayo Oropo/Chioma Ugboma

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