The Independent Corrupt and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) said that it had begun an investigation into who owns the scores of abandoned housing estates in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
The probe, according to the anti-agency, will identify the property that was being sponsored with illegal cash flows.
The Director, Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management, ICPC, Mr Kayode Adedayo, revealed this at a capacity building workshop for investigators, prosecutors, and tax inspectors on investigating or prosecuting illicit financial flows organized by the ICPC in Abuja on Monday. He noted that the investigation was in line with the commission’s mandate to combat corruption.
According to him, the country needed a unified and determined effort to combating IFFs, with law enforcement authorities investing in capacity building to trace and follow the money on a constant basis.
While stating that the beneficial ownership law must be implemented and investigated, Adedayo also noted that data accessibility and intelligence sharing are critical.
“The ICPC is currently investigating cases of completed but abandoned estates distributed throughout the Federal Capital Territory in order to identify those that are instruments of IFFs, in accordance with its duty to combat corruption.”
“Furthermore, we’re working with the National Assembly to investigate, evaluate, and enact relevant legislation to combat corruption in the real estate sector,” the director added.
‘Illicit financial flows in the real estate sector,’ he said. Adedayo suggested that real estate is a crucial industry in the global laundering of IFFs because to its lack of regulation, and that laundering activities is carried out in coordination with real estate developers and accomplices in land administration departments.
“In the Nigerian real estate market, illicit wealth is frequently laundered through cash purchases made with foreign exchange obtained through Bureau De Changes. “Often, property titles are not altered to reflect new ownership following a transaction,” he noted.
Mr Akeem Lawal, the ICPC Director of Operations, said that for anti-graft agencies to combat IFFs in the education sector, they must increase profiling of persons under investigation and their family members, conduct networth analyses in accordance with the provisions of the Public Service Rules and the Code of Conduct Bureau Act, and collaborate with the Nigeria Immigration Service and embassies in this regard.