​EITI wants more spotlight on politicians owning extractive industry assets

As the anti-corruption summit gets underway in London, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, EITI has asked Nigeria to pay particular attention to the identities of politically exposed persons (PEPs) who are beneficial owners of extractive industries assets.

The Regional Director, EITI Africa and the Middle East, Eddie Rich, told PREMIUM TIMES that Nigeria and 50 other EITI-principles-implementing countries have given their commitment to publish the beneficial owners of active companies in their extractive sector by 2020.

Mr. Rich said although Nigeria has expressed commitment to tackle corruption and check terror financing through beneficial ownership, the country still has to pay particular attention to small, but important details when publishing identities of PEPs as owners of these companies.

The other countries include Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, Guinea, Honduras, Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mongolia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Niger, Norway, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Republic of the Congo, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of America, Yemen and Zambia.

Mr. Rich said the model EITI beneficial ownership declaration includes fields for disclosing information on beneficial owners who are PEPs holding public office positions and roles, or other reason for PEP designation, and the dates of holding such office.

He said all those requirements make it possible for the public to be well informed to be able to hold all company owners accountable as well as determine if anyone was involved in acts of corruption or terror financing.

“To ensure that the beneficial ownership definition includes appropriate reporting obligations for PEPs, it is recommended that Nigeria works out activities aimed at investigating existing national definitions and reporting requirements for PEPs,” Mr. Rich said.

He urged the Nigerian government to take steps to identify the national policy objectives on beneficial ownership to align with the definition prior to the collection of the full information by 2020 as required by the EITI Standards.

On British Prime Minister, David Cameron’s statement that Nigeria is a “fantastically corrupt country”, Mr. Rich said the fight against corruption was never done and a lot of tools would be needed to take it to the end.

“EITI does not do everything and is not a clean bill against all corruption, but it does shine a light into many corners of the room,” he stated.

“The UK Summit is an opportunity for all countries and stakeholders to learn from each other and jointly agree to some commitments. Nigeria will hopefully commit to some relevant actions to the challenges it faces and making best use of the EITI process within that,” Mr. Rich said.

A Nigeria EITI delegation led by the Executive Secretary, Waziri Adio, is attending the London summit which would be an opportunity for participants to share ideas on how to enhance the already existing commitment towards tackling corruption in the global extractive industry.

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