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Thursday, 12 April 2018

FG collaborating with UK to end anonymous company ownership, says Malami SAN

FG collaborating with UK to end anonymous company ownership, says Malami SAN

Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, Abubakar Malami

THE Federal Government is working with the United Kingdom (UK) to end the practice, where companies are registered with fictitious or anonymous identities.

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami (SAN), who spoke in Abuja yesterday, said the step was necessary because such companies with hidden owners have become tools for capital flight and illicit financial flows.

He said the Federal Government was working with the UK authorities through the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to ensure that the issue is effectively addressed.

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Malami also said the government has made progress in its effort to establish a public register of beneficial owners of companies.

The AGF said there was already in place a Memorandum of Understanding on the “co-monitoring” of the spending of the funds looted from the Nigerian treasury by the late former Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha, and recently repatriated from Switzerland.

Malami spoke through the Permanent Secretary and Solicitor-General of the Federation, Dayo Apata, who addressed a news conference on the recent election of Nigeria into the ‘global steering committee’ of the Open Government Partnership.

He said by virtue of its election, Nigeria will now serve alongside France, Argentina and Romania for a period of three years, beginning from October 2018.

The AGF said the effort by Nigeria to end the era of anonymous company ownership was part of the implementation of activities agreed in the National Action Plan created by government while working with non-state actors and civil society organisations.

Malami said apart from the effort towards establishing public register of beneficial owners, a new legislation that would ensure that data was made available to the public had been sent to the National Assembly.

He said the law “should become enforceable before the end of the year 2018”.

The AGF said: “As many of you are aware, government has made significant efforts in asset recovery.

“A recent Memorandum of Understanding on the co-monitoring of the expenditure of Abacha loot repatriated from Switzerland has been described by stakeholders as model for other countries on how best to transparently utilise looted fund when they are returned to their countries of origin.

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“This is in line with our deliberate policy to have clear and transparent guidelines for managing all recovered assets in line with the anti-corruption commitments in the National Action Plan.”

Also speaking, the Special Assistant to the President on Justice Reform, Mrs. Juliet Ibekaku, said stolen public funds recovered by the Federal Government were being paid into a dedicated account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which in turn, transfers such funds into the Federation Account, from where they are utilised to fund the budget.

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