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What is a beneficial owner?

A beneficial owner of a company is defined in terms of the Companies (Amendment) Act 2018 as “any natural person who directly or indirectly through any contact, arrangement, understanding, relationship or otherwise, is the ultimate beneficiary of a share or other securities in a company.” In layman’s terms, a beneficial owner of a company enjoys the benefits or proceeds of a company or controls a company without being on record as the official owner. All companies are required by law to provide this information to CIPA when registering or re-registering, and failure to do so is an offence which may attract a fine or jail term.