Dead people still exist as shareholders in companies’ register – Registrar

companies beneficial ownership
Jemima M. Oware, the Registrar of Companies

The Registrar of Companies, Jemima Oware, has indicated that dead people still persist as shareholders and directors of some companies in the country as many companies have failed to update their details and file annual returns.

The registrar explained that filing of annual returns simply means updating the company registration details like shareholders, directors, geographical location, among others. However, because some companies have failed to file over the years, dead names of directors and shareholders remain in the register which shouldn’t be so.

“It is the duty of every company to update. It is possible one used the father or other family members as shareholder and directors, but the person may be dead. So if you do not update to change those names in our data on the company, the person is still a shareholder and in case something happens, the company owners would be found wanting,” she said.

According to her, despite the several opportunities given to company owners over the years to update their records by simply filing annual returns due to upgrade of the system from manual to digital, as well as registration requirements enhanced, many have failed to do so.

She, therefore, sounded a strong warning that her office is about to embark on a mass de-registration to remove all these companies that do not have complete information or have not filed their annual returns since 2011 when the new system was implemented.

“We started automation of the system since 2011, but some companies exist since 1963; so we came out and advised all businesses to update their records into the new database by first filling their annual returns.

In doing that, we have provided a form that makes provision for people to indicate whether directors and shareholders have changed, or company location has changed, among others. Then, you also file financial statement to indicate if you are doing good business. But people have not done that since they registered; and some, who are on the automated system have also not done that since 2011,” she added.

Speaking at a roundtable discussion organised by Veritas International on the theme: ‘Doing Business in Ghana: A Legal Perspective’, Mrs. Oware stated that her outfit is determined to clean the register and keep it up-to-date with relevant information on companies in line with international standards.

This, she said, would enable local companies to be in good standing to pitch for investors and other international funding support projects.

The event was organised by Veritas International Nominees and Trustees Ltd. as part of activities to mark their five years anniversary.

Founder and Supervising Director of the company, Lady-Ann Essuman, advised people who want to establish a company to always talk to a lawyer and also hire experts, especially in a position such as a secretary, to help in proper records-keeping and documenting the companies financials, as well as filing annual returns.

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