Inefficiency and alleged corruption in CAC: For how long will lawyers bear this? by Anthony S. Aladekomo

 



It would be pertinent to expatiate on the title of this write-up by quoting the 'testimony' of a legal practitioner regarding his recent experiences having to do with conducting the registration of companies and allied matters in the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). He documented the 'testimony' on one of the official platforms of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA). Hear him: "I have successfully done with 30 million share capital of a private company and I had applied for business name of my chamber together with registration of incorporated trustee. Don't bother yourself in doing CAC registration online, find somebody amongst their staff, make payment to him/her, within shortest period, and expect your certificate. If you are tired of CAC brief, kindly contact me and send the client to me."

 

In a nutshell, this lawyer has given a cogent, compelling and highly probative eye-witness testimony that the salaried staff of the CAC have now become illegal registration contractors of what should otherwise be the briefs of private legal practitioners, many of who (especially the new wigs) are today unemployed or underemployed partly because of multifaceted factors, one of which is glaring here. Note that such speedy illegal registrations of companies by in-house staff of the CAC is happening at a time that most of the lawyers who follow due process spend months trying to even conduct a name reservation search--not to talk of registering a company! I am aware that many lawyers' works have continued to hang on the CAC website because of its systemic website upgrade problem. And when such lawyers go to their office to complain, the security men would act on instructions from above by keeping them locked out because "registration is now 100% online" on the purportedly newly upgraded CAC website. Then when you reach out to the CAC through their official telephone numbers and e-mail addresses, it may be that they would neither respond at all or they would give you a lame response. It has even been alleged that some CAC staff have ownership or pecuniary interest in most, if not all, the 'business registration centres' opposite or in the neighbourhood of the CAC. One of the CAC offices in Lagos is a caricature of this unethical practice. They practically chase prospective customers of the CAC or of lawyers in private practice and highjack them. What really is the mystery behind the speedy registrations of companies by those 'CAC business registration centres,' which lawyers are still oblivious of? How do they achieve in a jiffy what take lawyers days, weeks or months to achieve with tears? Does it mean that these non-professionals had more access to the official guidelines to the so-called upgraded (or downgraded?) new website? Is this the patriotic manner to implement Mr. President's and Mr. Registrar-General's policy of "ease of doing business", which has been widely touted as the aim of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020? In a nutshell, registration of companies by lawyers at the CAC has in recent months been with sorrows, tears and/or abandonment.

 

It sounds unconscionable that despite the unresolved unabated predicaments of lawyers unsuccessfully attempting to register companies on the CAC website, the CAC has been bold to give them a June 2021 deadline within which to cough out N10,000 to revalidate their accreditation or face sanctions? How morally justifiable is this, at least at this time that the lawyers have hardly been able to reap the fruits of their study of company law (in both the university and the Law School) and the original accreditation fees paid?

It is as if the new CAMA, which was notoriously controversial when signed in 2020, and its consequential upgrade (or downgrade?) of the CAC website are jinxed. Who will break this jinx for private legal practitioners who are being economically hit by it? Where is the NBA? Where are those open bar advocacy groups? Where are those lawyers' rights and anti-corruption groups?

 

 

2 Comments

  1. I align with your article. On the issue of revalidation, it is amazing that while accredited agents are asked to revalidate their accounts, public users are still granted free access to the use of the CAC portal. I know this is purportedly due to the "ease of doing business" but this ease has to be the ease of all. Ease of the accredited agents, ease of the public users and ease of carrying out jobs with CAC.

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  2. He actually oberseved issues which are affecting the CAC and registration of companies by lawyers.

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