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Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the 2018 Amended Executive Order 8 on Voluntary Offshore Assets Regularisation Scheme (VOARS)

VOARS, within a 12 months window, 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 fulfilment of the terms and conditions stipulated in the order and other subsequent regulations.

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

However, 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.

“The recoveries accruing to the government will be used for essential infrastructure development for the benefit of Nigerians,” said the Nigerian government.

The Nigerian government is expecting that relevant persons among Nigerians, their entities and intermediaries should seize the opportunity provided by VOARS to declare and regularise their offshore assets, but warning that there will be severe penalties for defaulters and for the financial institutions that enable them.