Feb 25, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – Transparency International, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) formed to end corruption, has written to the United Nations General Assembly with an appeal for them to set a new global standard for transparency in company ownership.
Research and Policy Expert at Transparency International, Maíra Martini, said: “In recent years, many countries have made progress towards ending the abuse of anonymous companies – most recently the United States. But, as our campaign shows, there is an overwhelming consensus that fundamental fixes are necessary across the board. Criminals and the corrupt must have nowhere to hide their ill-gotten loot. This means universal adoption of public beneficial ownership registers, based on a robust definition of beneficial ownership and accompanied by strong verification processes.”
The appeal has been endorsed by almost 700 signatories from 120 countries, Transparency Institute Guyana Inc. said in a statement. The list consists of renowned academics and research centres, companies and business executives, civil society groups and activists as well as several government agencies and public officials.
Head of Conventions Unit at Transparency International, Gillian Dell, said, “All parts of our societies around the world have spoken. From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, from indigenous peoples’ groups to tax justice advocates, from distinguished diplomats to multi-national companies, we all agree: anonymous companies are vehicles for corruption and other illicit practices that jeopardise the common good. We are asking country representatives preparing for the UNGASS 2021 to heed this call for urgent action.”
TIGI, the local chapter, said that the appeal comes ahead of the UN General Assembly’s Special Session Against Corruption (UNGASS) 2021, scheduled for June.
“It asks that UNGASS 2021 commits all countries to set up national, public registers of companies, disclosing the real individuals who own, control or benefit from them,” TIGI said.
Part of the petition states, “Companies that exist only on paper, exploiting our legal systems and concealing their ultimate ownership, are tools for the diversion of critical resources needed to advance sustainable development and collective security.
For decades, as scandal after scandal has demonstrated, anonymous shell companies have been used to divert public funds, channel bribes and conceal ill-gotten gains, as part of corruption and money laundering schemes stretching across borders.”
The signatories see a central, public register of companies and their ultimate beneficial owners as well as legal owners and directors, as the most effective and practical way to record beneficial ownership information and facilitate timely access for stakeholders.
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