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CISLAC calls for investigation into Pandora Papers ‘revelations’

Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to direct anti-graft agencies to investigate indicted individuals and companies in the Pandora Papers recently released.

Chairman of CISLAC, Mr Auwal Ibrahim at a news conference notes that the paper reveals the weakness in Nigeria’s financial system and regulatory deficiency resulting in the annual loss of about $18 billion to illicit financial flows out of the country.

He noted that the Pandora Paper was coming at the heels of the country’s continual borrowing and the adverse effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on the country’s economy.

Programme Manager, Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism, Mrs Jessica Odudu recommended the implementation of the Company and Allied Matter Act (CAMA) so beneficial owners of companies in Nigeria can be identified.

She also called for the strengthening of the Code of Conduct Bureau through the digitalisation of asset declaration, processes, and documentation.

CISLAC added that the Central Bank of Nigeria needs to ensure that financial institutions carry out Know Your Customer (KYC), Customer Due Diligence (CDD), and Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD) as required by Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Anti-graft Agencies while the Ministry of Justice and Foreign Affairs should work in synergy to engage their international counterpart.

It further called on the government to revisit the Voluntary Asset and Income Disclosure Schemes (VAIDS) and the Voluntary  Offshore Asset Regularisation Scheme (VOARS).

The Pandora Papers are 11.9 million leaked documents of about 2.9 terabytes of data that the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) published on 3 October 2021 exposing secret offshore accounts of some world leaders, including current and former presidents, prime ministers, heads of state as well as over 100 billionaires, celebrities, and business leaders. 

Reporting by Ayo Agbeoluwaye, editing by Muzha Kucha