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Companies need to authorize an officer to provide basic information and beneficial ownership information to competent authorities

By Shalinee Dreepaul Halkhoree

The Companies Act has been amended in its section 190, by the Anti-Money Laundering and Combatting the Financing of Terrorism (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2020 (Act No. 5 of 2020) which came into effect on 9 July 2020. The new subsection 6 which has been added provides that notwithstanding any other enactment, every company shall authorize, at least one officer, ordinarily resident in Mauritius, to provide all basic information and beneficial ownership information of the company to a competent authority, upon request.

The board of each company will have to resolve on the identity of the officer to be appointed for the purposes of being the authorised officer as explained above. The company is required to notify the Registrar of Companies of the name and particulars of the officer who has been so authorized, within 14 days of such authorization or a change in such an officer. As of date, there is no specific form which has been issued by the Registrar of Companies for such notification. The notification may be done by way of letter signed by a director of the company. There is no need to attach the KYC documents of the officer so authorized to the letter being sent to the Registrar of Companies. However, the letter should set out the name, nationality, national identity number and address (residential or service) of the authorized officer.

The basic information which the officer is required to provide is the company name, proof of incorporation, legal form and status, its registered office address, a list of its directors, and a register of its shareholders containing the names of the shareholders and the number of shares held by each shareholder and categories of shares, including the nature of the associated voting rights.

The term “competent authority” has been defined as a public body responsible to combat money laundering or terrorist financing and it also includes an investigatory body, namely, the Commissioner of Police, the Mauritius Revenue Authority, the Asset Recovery Investigation Division, the Integrity Reporting Services Agency, or the Independent Commission against Corruption.

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