The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, on Wednesday, said the involvement of the private sector, especially banks and other financial institutions, was a critical success factor to check illicit financial flows, money laundering and terrorism financing in the West African subregion.
NEITI’s Executive Secretary, Ogbonnaya Orji, disclosed this while addressing the regional conference of member states of the Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa in Accra, Ghana, according to a statement issued by the agency in Abuja.
He said, “The private sector, especially banks and other financial institutions that provide safe havens for illicit financial transactions across national and international boundaries, have strategic responsibilities to deploy, use and share beneficial ownership information and data.
“This includes the adoption and aligning with transparency reform institutions like NEITI in risk assessment and adoption of progressive best practices in beneficial ownership transparency.
“NEITI is therefore delighted to be part of the regional forum of the Inter-Governmental Action Group Against Money Laundering in West Africa convened here in Accra, Ghana to discuss deeper engagements with the private sector, anti-corruption institutions, relevant security agencies and other EITI member countries to broaden the scope of beneficial ownership implementation.”
NEITI said the meeting resolved to deploy adequate information and accurate data to assist relevant authorities and the private sector, including financial institutions and designated non-financial institutions in their efforts to combat money laundering and associated predicate offenses.
It said the regional meeting also resolved to take steps to ensure a balance between beneficial ownership transparency objectives and protection of citizens’ and individuals’ right to privacy and data protection.
“The meeting also resolved to seek required political support, engage in information sharing, public education and enlightenment to broaden the scope of implementation in member countries.
“Other resolutions include prioritisation of human capacity development, financial and technical resources mobilisation and management,” NEITI stated.
It noted that to ensure compliance by reporting institutions and other private sector entities, the forum resolved to strengthen cooperation among GIABA member states on beneficial ownership data verification.
“The forum recognised the important role of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative; Compliance Officers Forum of GIABA Member States; Compliance Institute, Nigeria; and open ownership in strengthening beneficial ownership transparency and its importance to public sector reforms,” the agency added.