The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) has announced its plan to strike off one hundred thousand companies that have failed to file their annual returns in the last decade.
The Registrar-General/CEO of the CAC, Alhaji Garba Abubakar, made this revelation during a Training Workshop on the Use of the Beneficial Ownership Register (BOR) in Lagos.
He said the register is designed in line with international commitment to the commitment made by the Nigerian government to have an open central register of beneficial ownership companies in line with the principles of ownership task force the principles of open government partnership and the principles of extractive industry transparency initiatives.
The Registrar General explained that the law is clear any Company that is not filing its returns is considered not in operation or inactive and the company is liable to be struck up if they continue doing that for ten years and already they have compiled the lists of first 100,000 companies to be struck up.
He added the names of these Companies will be published on their website soon and they will be given four weeks within which for them to comply and if they fail to comply they will be struck up from the lists.
Garba Abubakar, notes that immediately after the first barges are struck up another 100,000 will be compiled until the last stage of companies that have not complied and after that, all the property and assets they have will be reverted to government.
So the consequences of striking out is like lost properties but they are at liberty to reapply on the register to be relisted and if they are not relisted within the next ten years whatever property they have is lost”, he warned.
Garba Abubakar hints that the register is not an end in itself but a means to an end, this is because today corruption and other financial crimes are carried out using corporate bodies but there is a limit to a transaction an individual can carry out.
“You will agree with me that most procurements are done using companies but the new system provides information about the true owners of these companies so it makes it easier for investigators to know the true owners of these companies the natural person’s that truly control these companies so it makes easier for investigating agencies to search and know who are behind these companies and at the point of registration the person’s must provide the true owners of these Companies and providing false information attract two-year jail terms.
“And any further delay in providing this information attracts a daily default of the minimum of N10,000 fee per day. The whole essence is that you have an open register that supports anti-graft agencies and supports the works of Media and Civil Society to search make extraction and simplify their job.”
” In this way, it will help in the investigation of corruption and money laundering and this is the first beneficial register designed in line with the beneficial ownership system in Africa.”