Registrar-General gives companies ultimatum to declare beneficial owners

Jemima Oware - Registra-General

The Registrar-General’s Department has tasked all existing companies to submit all data on their legal and beneficial owners before July 1, 2021.

It is very common to find businesses in Ghana registered in the name of directors who are not the actual legal beneficiaries of the business, even though the law require the actual owners to be declared.

Indeed, when companies are registered, there are no administrative requirement to fill in the details of the actual owners of the business apart of the directors and secretaries.

But the Registrar-General, Jemima Oware said her outfit has now provided forms online for companies to download and fill in the data of the legal owners and beneficiaries, and every company is expected to do so between now and July 1, 2021.

She said currently, all new businesses registering with the Registrar-General are required to download the legal owners and beneficiaries forms, fill and attach to the registration document before they will be accepted.

“From January, every business that comes to register is supposed to download the forms, fill it and attach it to the registration documents. So we have started collecting them,” she noted during a media sensitization workshop in Accra.

She added that “For the legacy data, i.e., businesses that already existed before we deployed the beneficial ownership register from October 1, 2020, we are giving them up to June 30 to update us with their beneficial ownership information because, after June 30, sanctions will kick in.”

The Registrar-General firstly announced the plan to create a Beneficial Ownership (BO) register in 2018.

The deployment of the BO register begun in September 2020 with the extractive industry and other high-risk sectors like banks and other financial institutions.

With the register fully deployed now, the Registrar-General is asking all companies to submit their Beneficial Owner details by the end of June this year to prevent sanctions.

Beneficial Owners 

The Companies Act 2019 (Act 992) provides for the collection of data on beneficial owners on all companies.

The Beneficial Ownership regime requires the declaration of the true owners of every company operating in Ghana.

The information, which would be held in a Central Register by the Registrar of Companies, would be available to the business community, the general public and to competent authorities to promote business transparency.

Details of the beneficial owner of a company also help minimize domestic and cross-border bribery and corruption, fraud and illegal financial transactions.

The Beneficial Owner of an entity is therefore a person who will enjoy the economic rights stemming from the entity, regardless of whether the entity’s ownership is registered in his or her name.


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