Myanmar’s beneficial ownership disclosure insufficient says Global Witness

Myanmar’s first ever disclosure of beneficial ownership information in the oil, gas and mining sectors is an important step forward, but major problems with the data must be addressed according to a new report by Global Witness.

The report, Out of the Shadows, says that in introducing the beneficial ownership register Myanmar’s government took an important step towards making the country’s extractives sector more accountable, but Global Witness has found serious problems with reporting and data that must be addressed. 

Bad connections

The international NGO that works to break the links between natural resource exploitation, conflict, poverty, corruption, and human rights abuses says beneficial ownership data is particularly valuable in Myanmar.

This is because Global Witness believes there is an economically dominant network of companies in Myanmar connected to the current military, members of the former military junta, ethnic armed groups, government-backed militias and well-connected cronies.

Failure to disclose

The NGO says the beneficial ownership register as it is currently presented may not reflect the true nature of this network as a significant number of companies did not file at all or filed late.

Of the 162 companies included in the first batch of disclosures, 24 (15 per cent) completely failed to submit disclosures and 17 more (10 per cent) submitted their filings late.

In the future, Global Witness says Myanmar’s government, in partnership with champions in the business community, must take measures to ensure compliance, such as withholding operating licences from non-compliant companies, suspending or revoking their licences, or imposing financial penalties.

More information on the report and a link to download Out of the Shadows can be found here.

Categories: Trade Based Financial crimes News

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