Beneficial ownership, RTI key to fighting illicit financial flows

by Business Zone

In order to effectively fight the cancer of illicit financial flows in Ghana, the Tax Justice Coalition, Ghana is urging the use of beneficial ownership (BO) and the right to information (RTI) processes to fight the canker.

Speaking at a media training on the importance of the BO and RTI in fighting IFFs, Chairman of the Tax Justice Coalition, Mr. Vitus Azeem, said “While various national laws and policies have failed to stem this cancer over the years, the Beneficial Ownership (BO) Register and the Right to Information Act 2019 (Act 989) may be the two pieces of promising instruments with the potential to bringing about gains in the fight against IFFs.”

“But it requires the fervent use of these instruments for good effect. Considering the recent cases of financial malfeasance in Ghana, it stands to say, these two legislative instruments have the potential to help if the media together with citizens are able to apply them effectively,” He noted.

Policy analyst with the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC), Dr. Steve Manteaw, also indicated that country’s quest to fight illicit financial flows, especially within the extractive sector can be fast-tracked with firm commitment from the media and competent authorities within the sector.

In view of this cancer, the Registrar-General’s Department (RGD) in January this year begun implementing the Beneficial Ownership regime in accordance with the Companies Act 2019 (Act 992). The RGD designed three specific forms to facilitate the collection of beneficial ownership data, these being that of Company with Shares; Company Limited by Guarantee and External Company.

This is a major step taken to enable the country meet its commitments to strategic measures towards complying with the 2016 Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) global conference resolution which makes beneficial ownership disclosure mandatory for all EITI implementing countries, of which Ghana is a member.

Per the beneficial ownership provision, every company in Ghana will now have to provide information on who its beneficial owners are, their interests, nationality, residential and postal addresses, their dates of birth, and possibly contact numbers to enable the Registrar-Generals Department to contact them, if need be.

Source: BusinessZone Online

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