TI urges leaders to pledge company ownership transparency

TI-transparency-internationalAhead of the anti-corruption summit in London on May 12, 2016, Transparency International (TI) has urged global leaders attending the summit to commit to full transparency in company ownership  and put an end to anonymous companies bidding for public contracts.

It has also asked that leaders support the initiative towards a global public beneficial ownership registry and to strengthen law enforcement cooperation and information sharing between jurisdictions.

World leaders will convene in London for the anti-corruption summit which will tackle global corruption and the menace of anonymous companies that are used for laundering of illicit cash, and hiding of wealth for tax avoidance by businesses and corrupt politicians.

“All governments should join the UK, Norway, Netherlands and the Ukraine, who have pledged to require companies incorporated in their jurisdictions to collect and publically disclose their beneficial ownership information in a central register. If only a few countries sign up, it will remain difficult to track international financial flows,” the global anti-corruption body said in a report outlining recommendations for the summit.

“Governments should require that any company, incorporated domestically or abroad, publicly disclose its beneficial ownership information when bidding for a public contract or purchasing and selling property”, TI said, adding that businesses “should receive no benefit from taking part in dodgy deals and operating in the darkness.”

Calling world leaders to action, TI warned that without any real global cooperation and a high sense of urgency, the London May 12 anti-corruption summit will be just another talk shop with little impact.

It emphasized the need for world leaders to guarantee that their commitments at the summit will be implemented over a defined period of time and that progress (or the lack of it) will be monitored.

“Once the dust has settled, global leaders cannot be allowed to walk away with yet another lofty communiqué of high principled intent and no game plan for implementation.”

The report further urged leaders to encourage professional bodies to withdraw the licenses of professionals implicated in corruption and money laundering, while enacting tight laws to protect activists and whistleblowers, and opening up government data for citizen engagement.

By Emmanuel Odonkor

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