The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) said some estates and developers in Abuja have failed its System Study and Review of Mass Housing delivery in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The commission is currently investigating cases of fully completed but unoccupied Estates in Abuja to identify estates and developers that are conduits for money laundering and illicit financial flows (IFFs).
The ICPC Chairman, Bolaji Owasanoye disclosed that some members of the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN) who were allocated huge plots of land for mass housing development in Nigeria through the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) with particular responsibility to provide infrastructure after which allocations are made to the NHF contributors failed in the payment of their counterpart funding and the delivery of infrastructure to the project sites.
He stated that they were discovered to be offering and selling the estate plots to the highest bidder contrary to government policy.
The investigation which has now spread to other major housing hubs in the country especially Lagos and Port-Harcourt is to further uncover other undesirable elements that are being used by Politically Exposed Persons (PEP) to launder ill-gotten wealth in the sector
The ICPC Chairman who did not mention those that failed the test spoke at the 13th Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Conference of the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN at Enugu, urged the Association to self-regulate its members as part of measures to prevent being used for money laundering and IFFs.
He also sought the support of the Law Enforcement Agencies in the commission’s investigations as it intensifies its compliance monitoring of the association in areas of unwholesome practices by low-quality housing deliveries and shady financial practices.
Owasanoye, who was represented by the Commission’s Director of Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management, Adedayo Kayode, urged the leadership of REDAN to introduce the Know Your Customer (KYC) principles for its clients to avoid serving as a conduit for money launderers and IFFs offender.
He said, “It is my position that self-regulation is a way out of this quagmire for the association. REDAN should consciously draw up program members to build the capacity of its members on modern trends in construction and also hold its members to the highest level of ethical standards.
“The Association should introduce and enforce high ethical state standards for its members especially to ensure their processes are not used for Money Laundering. In this regard, the Association may introduce KYC principles.”
The ICPC boss stated that the theme of the AGM “Enhancing the Real Estate Sector through Effective Regulation and Collaborations” was in line with the Commission’s mandate of partnership and collaboration with relevant institutions toward building a mass mobilization vanguard in the curbing of corruption and IFFs within the system and out of the country.
The ICPC Chairman, however, expressed regrets that some members of REDAN are engaged by unscrupulous individuals and Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) to launder their ill-gotten wealth thereby exposing honest and patriotic members of the association to being labelled corrupt by perception.
Prof. Owasanoye also encouraged the REDAN leadership to play a pivotal role in bringing down the mounting cost of housing construction in Nigeria as well as labelled the enormous gap in housing construction by collaborating with relevant government agencies.
“REDAN can serve as a buffer for its members by importing building materials in large quantities which will be made available to members at a lower cost than the open market and force down the cost of housing construction in the country.
“The Association should also exploit the possibility of partnering with manufacturers to reduce the cost of building materials and assist in making housing avoidable for all,” he said.
The ICPC Chairman further urged the real estate association to consider direct involvement in low-cost housing constructions nationwide to assist the “Housing for All” Programme of the Federal Government.
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