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CAC makes disclosure of beneficial ownership mandatory for companies

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The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) has mandated companies to disclose their beneficial owners at the point of registration.

The registrar-general of the CAC, Garba Abubakar, who disclosed this in a statement said the decision is to “entrench transparency and to support the anti-corruption initiative” of President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

Speaking at a press briefing themed ‘Beneficial ownership register, an Antidote to Corruption,’ organised by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), in Lagos, he said all companies that registered with the commission from January 3 till date were mandated to disclose their persons of significant control or beneficial owners at the point of registration.

Also, the CAC registrar noted that for companies that registered earlier than January 3, the disclosure would start from their next annual returns depending on the financial year-end of each company.

He maintained that companies that have filed their financial annual returns from January till date must mandatorily disclose their persons of significant control.

The statement read: “Nigeria has started implementing beneficial ownership disclosure in line with the commitment made by Mr President during the London anti-corruption summit in 2016. It took this long to start the implementation because of the absence of a legal framework.

“The companies and allied matters act 2020 was re-enacted, and it now provides for mandatory disclosure of persons of significant control.

“The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) is the agency responsible for giving effect to the provision of this new law, since the 3rd of January this year, the CAC has deployed an electronic register that covers all aspects of our registration services, and this includes the disclosure of beneficial ownership. 

“From January 3 till date, every company registered with CAC must disclose its persons of significant control or beneficial owners at the point of registration and whenever there’s any change in the information or at a point of filing of annual returns for new companies registered from third January till date, the information is available if you go to pre.cac.gov.ng, you click on any company registered from the third January to date, you can view that information at no cost.

“For companies registered earlier than that date, the disclosure will start from their next annual returns, and that depends on the financial year-end of each company.

“Companies that have filed their financial annual returns from January till date must mandatorily disclose their persons of significant control. 

“All essence of doing this is to entrench transparency and to support the anti-corruption initiative of the government, so that as a citizen if you have reasons to believe that the information in the portal is not a true reflection of the ownership of the company then you can escalate this information and report to relevant agencies for investigation.”

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