Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says secret corporate ownership poses serious danger to developing countries like Nigeria.
According to the vice president, experience has shown that anonymous corporate ownership could serve as vehicles for masking conflicts of interest, corruption, tax evasion, money laundering, and even terrorism financing.
He said this on Monday in his address at the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative Beneficial Ownership Conference taking place in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Osinbajo said it has, therefore, become “a matter of life and death” for African countries to break the wall of secret corporate ownership.
He cited a 2014 report by the One Campaign, titled the “One Trillion Dollar Scandal” which claimed that developing countries lose $1trn annually to corporate transgressions, most of it traceable to the activities of companies with secret ownership.
He also mentioned the 2015 report of the High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa chaired by former South African President Thabo Mbek.
Osinbajo however said the problem was not limited to developing worlds.
The vice president said that in the current inter-connected world, anonymous companies had footprints and tentacles that do not respect the developing divide.
He said although the degree of exposure may differ, everyone in today’s world was at risk of the dangers posed by anonymous corporate ownership.
He commended the United Kingdom, Norway, Netherlands and Denmark for leading the way in establishing public registers of the real, human owners of companies in their countries.