The Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC,
Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani), has advocated a collaborative partnership by relevant stakeholders in the beneficial ownership campaign to help curb corruption in the country’s financial, procurement and other strategic sectors and contribute effectively to domestic revenue mobilisation for financing development of critical sectors of the economy.
Musa, while making the call commended the Government for its commitments to strengthen anti-corruption reforms by joining the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in July 2016 in a bid to deepen institutional and policy reforms.
He recalled that one of the commitments within the anti-corruption agenda in the consolidation of existing and new reforms, was the establishment of a Public Central Register of Beneficial Owners of companies.
“Six years after this bold commitment, we stand before the Nigerian public and international community to say that we have crossed the first bridge which is having the CAMA amended to support the beneficial ownership registry establishment. Kudos to all and sundry who worked tirelessly to have this law amended, particularly the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) for making commendable efforts in establishing an extractive sector register. ” he said.
Musa, also stated that while legitimate corporate businesses have an integral role in national development, the involvement of Politically Exposed Persons who conceal corruptly acquired wealth through the complex networks of companies deliberately created to hide their identities has further increased the risks they pose to non-fortified economies.
He noted that the Siemens, Halliburton and Malabu oil scandals, to cite a few high-profile cases, had a net impact on revenue leakages that was unbearable for the country’s finances and the citizens’ economic well-being.
Musa further noted, “We were already facing some sanctions from the European Union for the non- existence of anti-money laundering legislations; while we see and hear of prosecutions of Individuals and entities involved in the #panamapapers leaks and the #wikileaks among others, there seem to be no legal framework that enables the convictions of all that was involved from Nigeria; aside the fear of the international community, it is worthy of note here that Concealing of the beneficial owners’ costs lives of our fellow countrymen as terrorists use international financial systems to sustain their operations; Without transparent ownership of Nigerian and international companies operating within the Nigerian jurisdiction, we will not be able to stop the bleeding through illicit financial outflows which is perpetually on a geometric progressive increase year on year, which costs us annually around 17 billion US dollars, with special emphasis on the backbone of our economy, the oil and gas industry.”
“As long as wrong incentives and dysfunctional supervision dominate our national financial systems, consequences in the form of terrorism financing, trans-national organized crime, tax evasion and illegal enrichment of politically exposed persons will prevail.”