Presidency Unveils Buhari’s 10-point Anti-graft Plan As He Travels To UK
As President Muhammadu buhari travels Tuesday to the United kingdom to attend a summit of World leaders, the presidency has released a 10-point anti-corruption plan of the president.
Aside a bill sent to the National Assembly on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, which will encourage collaboration with other nations, the president is also making arrangements to send to two other bills on Proceeds of Crime and Nigeria Financial Intelligence Centre to the legislative houses.
Besides, the President will soon send a list of corruption convicts and suspects on trial to the United Kingdom and many other countries.
The President has proposed to lift the veil on corporate ownerships to disclose the true owners of a corporate vehicle in contract bids and procurement.
These new anti-graft measures are contained in the President’s roadmap for the summit of world leaders in London on Thursday.
The perspectives of the President were released last night in Abuja by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu.
It also contains 10 new anti-graft reforms. They are:
- greater fiscal transparency and and the enforcement of anti-corruption laws in the oil sector;
- improvement of anti-corruption laws;
- stringent measures against corruption in corporate governance;
- enactment of Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill, 2016;
- restriction of the ability of those who have looted public funds from traveling and investing the proceeds of their corruption in developed countries;
- developing list of those who have been convicted as well as those already prosecuted in Nigerian courts and sharing same with other countries; and
- contracts within a certain threshold will be published and those behind the companies bidding for the contract to be listed for public scrutiny both at national and state levels.
Officers working in budget offices and those responsible for approving public spending may henceforth be properly scrutinized, monitored and required to declare their assets regularly. New bills on Proceeds of Crime and Nigeria Financial Intelligence Centre for the National Assembly soon
New regulation that will authorize the Corporate Affairs Commission(CAC) to obtain information on beneficial ownership of foreign companies is also in the works.
The perspectives read in part: “A major issue of interest to this government and a few others is on greater transparency in the extractive industry (oil, gas and solid mineral sectors).
“The U.K. Government and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD, have identified 20 per cent of international corruption and bribery as coming from this sector.
“Nigeria will argue for greater fiscal transparency and and the enforcement of anti-corruption laws to deal with the problem.
“The President is expected to give assurances that a lot of work will be done on a set of laws that will improve enforcement of anti-corruption laws. Nigeria has already begun reviewing its anti-corruption laws enacted since 2000 to bring it in compliance with international developments.
“In addition, the country, which has ratified the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) is currently reviewing the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention for possible ratification. The OECD convention is considered among the stringiest of measures against corruption in corporate governance.
“The government of President Buhari has also forwarded the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill, 2016 to the National Assembly in Nigeria for enactment into law.
“When it is passed, it will enhance mutual assistance and international cooperation between Nigeria and other countries.
“The President will also announce that a new Nigeria Financial Intelligence Centre Bill has been drafted for this purpose and would soon be forwarded to the National Assembly.
“The Nigerian government will also indicate support for the UK proposal on the development of the International Anti-Corruption Coordination Centre. This is to be based in London and will serve as a global forum.
“As part of this country’s contributions to the evolution of the global anti-corruption infrastructure, Nigeria will seek support for the hosting of an ‘International Summit on Assets Recovery’ in 2017 in Abuja and for the establishment and hosting of a ‘Forum on Assets Recovery in Africa’ to be based in Abuja.”
The document said the Federal Goverment will also circulate the list of those convicted for corruption and those prosecuted in courts to willing nations.
It added: “The country will also seek the support of the UK government for the establishment of an anti-corruption coordination framework at the national level.
Nigeria will be fully embracing UK proposals for the summit on the restriction of the ability of those who have looted public funds from travelling and investing the proceeds of their corruption in developed countries.
“ To this end, the Nigerian government will develop its list of those who have been convicted as well as those already prosecuted in Nigerian courts for grand corruption for the purpose of sharing them with countries that are interested in offering bilateral or multilateral cooperation to Nigeria in the recovery of looted funds.
“The Nigerian government is also signaling an early support for the UK proposals on assets recovery which prescribes measures substantially in tandem with a new Proceeds of Crime Bill being drafted and would soon been forwarded by President Buhari to the National Assembly for passage into law.
“In addition to the political spotlighting of corruption, the coming together of world leaders is a sign of hope that countries like Nigeria with systems that are lax and compromised can gain from the experience of others in improving their regulatory mechanisms as quickly as possible.
“This trip is important for both Nigeria and the international community, which reposes a lot of hope on Muhammadu Buhari, who is faced with the daunting task of reversing the the socio-economic and political mess in which the previous administration left the country.”
The document gave insights into Buhari’s plans to transform corporate governance and endure transparency in contract system.
It said: “As his own contribution, the President has substantially aligned himself with major initiatives enunciated by the convener, Prime Minister David Cameron that seek to increase transparency and governance in several key areas.
“He has formulated a Nigerian position on how to end impunity for corruption and ensuring that those involved in grand corruption are brought to justice through the active enforcement of laws and restrictions.
“Equally in agreement with Cameron, he is making suggestions on ways of empowering those affected by corruption by ensuring that its proceeds are returned to those from whom they have been stolen.”
President Buhari will also join the world leaders in designing a global architecture and tools that can be used to by international organizations,countries and national institutions to fight corruption.
“In an outline by Attorney-General and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami (SAN), specific areas of interest to Nigeria which the President will put on the tables include the development of beneficial ownership information related to corporate ownership, procurement, and public contract.
“By this, Nigeria will seek the lifting of the veil on corporate ownerships in order to disclose the true owners of a corporate vehicle in contract bids and procurement processes. Beyond this, the corporate ownership profile may be shared with other countries or interested stakeholders.
“Already, there is a broad view among the participants that public contracting is a source of public corruption and must be tackled as such. Our officials recommend that contracts within a certain threshold should be published and those behind the companies bidding for the contract should be listed for public scrutiny both at national and state levels.
“To achieve this, Nigeria plans the enactment of a regulation that will authorise the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), to obtain information on beneficial ownership of foreign companies that can be held in a different database to be managed by the CAC in Nigeria.
“Nigeria will be demanding the strengthening of the supervisory responsibilities of financial and non-financial services regulators and provision of specific training on compliance requirements for these sectors and will seek the establishment of an inter-agency collaboration as a key element in improving the implementation of Financial Action Task Force, FATF standards (such as the money laundering laws, anti-corruption laws, and Financial Intelligence Center Bill).
“As part of measures to enhance fiscal transparency, which is required in enhancing economic growth, improved GDP and poverty reduction, officers working in budget offices as well as those responsible for approving public spending may henceforth be properly scrutinized, monitored and required to declare assets on a regular basis.
“The Nigerian government has in fact set for itself the objective of signing the ‘Open Government Partnership and Open Contracting Partnership.”