Buhari signs amendment to Executive Order on voluntary offshore assets regularisation 

President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the Executive Order 008 on Voluntary Offshore Assets Regularization Scheme (VOARS) 0ctober 2018.

Tribune Online reports that the endorsement of the Executive Order 008 by President Buhari followed input by stakeholders input and need to strengthen implementation mechanisms and structures.

“Consequently, the Amendment to Executive Order 2008 was signed on 20th May, 2020 by President Buhari”, Dr Umar Gwandu, the Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations to the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) stated in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja on Thursday.

Executive Order 008 as amended mandated the Attorney General of the Federation to set up and implement a Voluntary Offshore Assets Regularisation Scheme (hereinafter referred to as “VOARS”).

VOARS, the statement said, gives all relevant persons and their intermediaries who have defaulted in the declaration of their offshore assets the opportunity to voluntarily declare and regularise their offshore assets, subject to fulfilment of the terms and conditions stipulated in the Order and other subsequent regulations.

In order to ensure seamless exchange of information, VOARS will work closely with the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) which has worldwide access to relevant financial information.

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The Federal Government, Gwandu said expressed the hope that relevant persons amongst Nigerians, Nigerian entities and their intermediaries will seize the opportunity provided by VOARS to declare and regularise their offshore assets before it is too late.

“Relevant persons who voluntarily declare their offshore assets and pay the stipulated levy to the Federal Government will receive compliance certificates which allow them to use their residual assets freely without hindrance.

“The recoveries accruing to the Federal Government will be used for essential infrastructure development for the benefit of Nigerians.”

For defaulters who may be tempted to continue concealment of their offshore assets, Executive Order 008 as amended stipulates that “any domestic or foreign bank, asset manager or intermediary that cooperates with defaulters, enabling them to conceal offshore assets and obligations pertaining to them shall, upon discovery, be liable to pay to the Federal Government a penalty on the total of such offshore assets, in addition to other penalties provided for under Nigerian laws or laws of foreign countries from which Nigeria can benefit.”

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