The Independent Corrupt Practices and other- Related Offences Commission, (ICPC), has condemned the increasing rate in the number of buildings springing up in the Abuja metropolis, that are left unoccupied, while Nigeria needs about N6 trillion to overcome its housing deficit.
ICPC Chairman, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye said this in Abuja on Thursday, during the inauguration of the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee, set up to investigate the operations of real estate developers in the country.
“A tour around Abuja, especially the metropolis and the central area, would show a lot of estates that are built up but empty.”
“If they had been constructed with funds that were borrowed at market rates, I don’t think any investor would have such properties empty.”
Owasanoye who condemned this act of illegalities, also lamented how two (2) public officers in the Federal Capital Territory, (FCT), acquired three hundred and one (301) estate buildings illegally.
He said, one of the unnamed officers had 241 houses, and the other had 60, totaling 301 buildings, all together; being the ones discovered and recovered by ICPC.
Owasanoye, who believed that, wanton investment on real estates is another form of money laundering and a vehicle for hiding ill-gotten wealth, is also of the opinion that,
“Public officers acquire estates in pseudonyms to conceal the illegal origin of funds… adding that, “So, it is suspected that some of those estates have been used to launder ill-gotten public funds.”
In agreement with the ICPC Chairman, a Director of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Daniel Esei, who was also present at the event, said, most registered real estate firms in the FCT, Abuja, do not comply with the basic standards as laid down under the Money Laundering Prohibition Act of 2011 as amended.
This, to the EFCC Director, is the likely reason, why the sector is a safe haven for money laundering.