Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo has stressed the need to protect the identities of whistle-blowers and persons who divulge vital information leading to the exposure, arrest, and prosecution of corrupt elements within the society.
Osinbajo also said anonymous ownership of companies must be discouraged while noting that though secret ownership of companies “are not always illegal, nevertheless secrecy provides a convenient cover for criminality and corruption”.
This was contained in a speech delivered by the vice president on Tuesday and released by his Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Laolu Akande.
Osinbajo, who spoke in a webinar marking the 20th anniversary of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission themed ‘Combating Corruption And Illicit Financial Flows: New Measures And Strategies’, appreciated the ICPC board for maintaining the ideals of the anti-graft agency two decades after establishment.
Set up in the year 2000, the ICPC has the mandates to enforce laws against corruption, prevent acts of corruption, and educate the public against corruption.
According to the speech, the vice-president said, “For us in the developing world and especially in Africa, breaking the wall of secret corporate ownership is crucial because secrecy around corporate ownership is implicated in our underdevelopment.
Although anonymous companies are not always illegal, nevertheless secrecy provides a convenient cover for criminality and corruption.
“Our experience in Nigeria as in other developing countries is that anonymous corporate ownership covers a multitude of sins including conflict of interests, corruption, tax evasion, money laundering, and even terrorism financing.”
He added, “Secondly, we must protect, even more, whistle-blowers – persons who come forward with information against corruption.
We must protect those who are ready to fight against corruption and who are prepared to do so without necessarily disclosing their identities and even those who are ready to disclose their identities. Vanguard Nigeria