HomeNEWSICPC Recovers Over 300 Houses From Two Government Officials

ICPC Recovers Over 300 Houses From Two Government Officials

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) says it recently recovered over 300 houses from two civil servants in the nation’s capital, Abuja.

Making the disclosure on Thursday, the Chairman of the ICPC, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, went on to expose how real estate is often used as cover for money laundering and Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs).

Owasanoye, who spoke at a public hearing on real estate organized by the House of Representatives Ad-Hoc Committee on Investigation of Operations of Real Estate Developers in FCT, Abuja, also stated that public officers use real estate developers as conduits for IFFs.

He said: “Corrupt public officers use real estate investment as a vehicle for hiding ill-gotten wealth and money laundering. Public officers acquire estates in pseudo names to conceal the illegal origin of funds.

“This is made possible by the absence of proper documentation and registration of titles to lands and estates in the country and non-enforcement of beneficial ownership standards.”

“The Commission has a case in which we recovered 241 houses from a public officer and another one with 60 buildings on a large expanse of land,” he added.

“Corruption in real estate aids illicit financial flows. The real estate sector is globally recognized as attractive to IFFs largely because it is informal, unregulated, and thus open to abuse, shell-companies, use of intermediaries and third parties to acquire high-value real estate with proceeds of crime and/or illicit funds,” the ICPC boss further explained.

The ICPC leader told the committee of efforts to sanitize the real estate sector which has resulted in the recovery of monies and properties for the government.

He said: “ICPC continued with an exercise started by the defunct SPIP and concluded it from which recovery of a total sum of N53,968,158,974.64 was made.

“The figure comprises of N858,938,681,681.06 fully recovered and paid into FMBN account; N1,357,490,846.28 post-dated cheque for October 2021 and a notarized agreement to pay the sum of N51,751,729,447.30 to the FMBN, “Owasanoye explained.

Speaking further on the need for strict government regulation of the sector, Owasanoye noted that irregularities bordering on forgery and cloning of land documents, double/multiple land allocations, allocations of lands without the minister’s approval, and revocation of land titles without due process have become rampant.

He observed that even real estate developers were not spared of problems in the sector arising from the high cost of home acquisition, unstable capital market, currency volatility, increased rural-to-urban migration, ineffective property protection laws, perceived multiple taxations, and poor building quality.

He further stressed that while some of these challenges of real estate may be tackled by legislative and executive laws and policies, others were strictly based on the interplay of economic forces.

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