Carrying out a company search is one of the major ways to conduct a due diligence on a company in Nigeria. The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) supervises the incorporation of companies and maintains records of all registered companies in Nigeria. Consequently, any search to be carried out on a company must be performed through the CAC.
There are different types of company’s searches that can be out with the CAC in Nigeria. The types of searches that can be carried out with the CAC depends on the purpose such searches are to be used for.
Essentially, the 2 following methods can be used to conduct the company search in Nigeria:
- Public search
- Manual search
The public search usually involves visiting the CAC public portal to check the list of registered companies in Nigeria. Anyone seeking to confirm or check if a company is registered in Nigeria may check the public portal and simply search the companies’ public records by typing the name of the company to be checked on the website and search. If a company is duly registered in Nigeria, the details of the company will be automatically displayed to the user. The public details that would be revealed through this type of search include the full name of the company, address of the company, incorporation number and date of incorporation.
The company search via this method is usually used to ascertain the basic details of the company, as listed above. Any person seeking to register a new company may also use the public search to check whether the proposed name that is being sought to be registered has already been registered by another existing company in Nigeria. The CAC will not approve any proposed company whose the names and objects coincide with any subsisting company.
Above all, something akin to conducting a public search is that the CAC portal used for this search will display the list of registered companies in Nigeria, especially the companies relevant to the one queried or searched through the portal.
The manual search at the CAC involves pulling out the record or file of the targeted company off the shelve by the CAC and allow any interested party to conduct a thorough search on it. This type of search can only be conducted at the CAC office itself, and it is relevant for many reasons. Such reasons include checking whether the company was duly registered.
Essentially, a manual search will reveal a number of details information about the company, which will include the names and addresses of the directors of the company, the names and addresses of the shareholders of the company, the number and allotment of shares of the company, details of the registered office address and particulars of the company secretary.
The manual search will also reveal any charges duly registered or pending on the company. Under the Nigerian Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), companies’ charges such as debentures and mortgages must be registered with the CAC.
In conclusion, the significance of the company search cannot be over-emphasized. It is the duty of any person or entity that intends to enter into any transaction or contract with a company to carry out the required search on the company before entering into the transaction.
There are dire consequences for dealing with wrong officers of a company. For instance, under the Nigerian law, a company may not be bound by a contract or an agreement wrongly executed by a person not authorized by it or who is not among the officers of a company recognized by the CAMA.
Therefore, a company manual search is very relevant in determining or establishing the list of the officers or directors of any company. It can also be used to identify an appropriate registered address to serve any court summons or processes in case of any litigation against the company.
Finally, it is relevant to state that any good corporate law firm in Nigeria can diligently carry out a company search on behalf of any clients for a fee.
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