The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) has announced its readiness to partner with the organised private sector, banks, and other financial institutions in the implementation of beneficial ownership disclosures.
NEITI’s Deputy Director/Head Communications & Stakeholders Management, Mrs Obiageli Onuorah disclosed this in a statement on Wednesday.
She said, while addressing a regional Conference of Member States of the Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) in Accra, Ghana, the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji identified the involvement of the private sector especially banks and other financial institutions as critical success factors to check illicit financial flows, money laundering, and terrorism financing in the West African sub-region.
Dr. Orji explained “the private sector especially banks and other financial institutions that provide safe havens for illicit financial transactions across national and international boundaries have strategic responsibilities to deploy use and share beneficial ownership information and data including adoption and aligning with transparency reform institutions like NEITI in risk assessment and adoption of progressive best practices in beneficial ownership transparency.
“NEITI is therefore delighted to be part of the regional forum of the Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) convened here in Accra, Ghana to discuss deeper engagements with the private sector, anti-corruption institutions, relevant security agencies, and other EITI member countries to broaden the scope of beneficial ownership implementation”.
The statement said, the meeting resolved to deploy adequate information and accurate data to assist relevant competent authorities and the private sector, including financial institutions and designated non-financial institutions in their efforts to combat money laundering and associated predicate offenses.
It said, the regional meeting also resolved to take steps to ensure a balance between Beneficial Ownership transparency objectives and protection of citizens’ and individuals’ right to privacy and data protection.
It further said that the meeting also resolved to seek the required political support and engage in information sharing, public education, and enlightenment to broaden the scope of implementation in member countries. Other resolutions include prioritisation of human capacity development, financial and technical resources mobilisation, and management.
It said, that to ensure compliance by reporting institutions and other private sector entities, the forum resolved to strengthen cooperation among GIABA member states on BO data verification.
The forum recognised the important role of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI); Compliance Officers Forum of GIABA Member States; Compliance Institute, Nigeria; and Open Ownership in strengthening Beneficial Ownership transparency and its importance to public sector reforms.
It therefore, urged member countries within the GIABA region to take concrete steps to broaden and deepen the implementation of public beneficial ownership disclosures as important tools to combat illicit financial flows, money laundering, and terrorism financing for the peace and security of the subregion.
Apart from the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Dr Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, others who addressed the meeting were the Registrar General of the Corporate Affairs Commission, Alhaji Garuba Abubakar, Directors of Operation at the EFCC and ICPC, representatives of banks and financial institutions in Nigeria.