Yemi Osinbajo has described secret corporate ownership as a global problem.
According to the vice president, most of the funds are traceable to the activities of companies with secret ownership.
“Another report that may enjoy mention here is the 2015 report of the High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa chaired by former South African President Thabo Mbeki.
“The panel stated in its report that Africa had lost more than one trillion dollars over a 50-year period, and that Africa loses more than 50 billion dollars annually to illicit financial flows.
“Most of these illicit flows are perpetrated in the extractive sector and through companies with hidden ownerships.’’
According to him, the court cases involved huge legal costs, while the full benefit of the natural resource remains unexploited for the benefit of the people of Nigeria to which it belongs.
“So, for us in the developing world and especially in Africa, breaking the wall of secret corporate ownership is an existential matter.”
“It is for us literarily a matter of life and death. Masked or Hidden corporate ownership is deeply implicated in the sad story of our underdevelopment.”
“Yes, we know that anonymous companies are not always illegal or are not always designed to harm.”
“But we also know that secrecy provides a convenient cover for the criminal and the corrupt. And we are not just operating from the theoretical or hypothetical standpoint,’’ he said.
The vice president said that the problem was a global one driven by an inter-connected world where the foothold of anonymous companies does not respect the developed/developing divide.
He said although the extent of exposure may differ, everyone in today’s world was at risk of the dangers posed by anonymous corporate ownership.
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