Buhari Signs Amended 2018 Executive Order On Overseas Assets Declaration

SAN FRANCISCO, May 21, (THEWILL) – President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the Amended 2018 Executive Order 008 on Voluntary Offshore Assets Regularisation Scheme (VOARS) into law.

The office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice announced the development Thursday in a statement.

“As a result of stakeholders input and need to strengthen implementation mechanisms and structures, the Order was reviewed.

“Consequently, the Amendment to the Executive Order 008 was signed on May 20 by President Buhari’’.

The statement said the Executive Order 008 as amended mandated the Attorney-General of the Federation to set up and implement a Voluntary Offshore Assets Regularisation Scheme otherwise referred to as `VOARS’.

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

The statement also noted that 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 government hopes that relevant persons amongst Nigerians, their entities and 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 government will receive compliance certificates which allows them to use their residual assets freely without hindrance.

“The recoveries accruing to the government will be used for essential infrastructure development for the benefit of Nigerians’.

“It 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 will 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 the Nigerian law or laws of foreign countries from which Nigeria can benefit’’.

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