Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate all the companies and personalities indicted in the recent Pandora Papers to prove that he is all out to fight corruption in the country.
The group also said the presidency must not allow party affiliations or political sentiments to becloud its objective of truly getting to the root of all the big names mentioned in the Pandora Papers, noting that since nothing tangible came out of two previous investigations, the Panama and Paradise Papers, this recent one facilitated by over 600 journalists from 117 countries should serve as a litmus test for the government to reassure Nigerians of its genuine intentions.
While referring to the leaks jointly facilitated by the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism, the executive director of CISLAC, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, said the perception many Nigerians have of the government is one of paying lip services to serious corruption cases, stressing that once politically exposed people decamp from one party to another, they become exonerated from their crimes.
Rafsanjani also called on civil society organisations to track and ensure that the Pandora Papers are not swept under the carpet in Nigeria like the case of Panama Papers in 2016 and the 2017 Paradise Papers
Since its release on October 3, 2021, Nigerians have read with awe the details of financial transactions of some influential individuals that allegedly exploit and undermine extant financial guidelines of Nigeria.
Rafsanjani said the Pandora Papers confirmed the continuing weakness in the Nigerian financial system and regulatory deficiencies which he says is the root cost of the country’s annual loss of 18 billion dollars to illicit financial flows
He, however, urged the federal government to engage their international counterparts to ensure global enablers and middlemen such as lawyers and accountants who would help to facilitate money laundering and tax evasion are blacklisted and deregistered.
Also, the programme officer of Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ), Jessica Odudu, urged the federal government to strengthen the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) by digitising the assets declaration processes.
Odudu also asked the government to operationalise the beneficial ownership register to tackle the illicit financial flows.