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ICPC recovers 241 houses from public servant

The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) has recovered 241 houses from a public officer...

The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) has recovered 241 houses from a public officer.

ICPC Chairman, Bolaji Owasanoye, disclosed this in Abuja Sunday when he appeared before the House of Representatives’ ad-hoc committee investigating activities of estate developers in the Federal Capital Territory.

He said the commission also recovered 60 buildings on a large expanse of land from another public officer. 

Noting that corruption in real estate aids illicit financial flows, he said a study by the ICPC between 2010 and 2011 revealed the sharp practices in the real estate sector as developers were selling allocated lands for mass housing to highest bidders.

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

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

He said a system study and review of mass housing delivery in the FCT in 2010 and 2011 also revealed that members of the Real Estate Developers of Association of Nigeria (REDAN), allocated huge plots of land for mass housing development in the FCT in collaboration with the Federal Government through the Federal Mortgage Bank to provide infrastructure, failed in the payment of counterpart funding and the delivery of infrastructure to project sites. He said they resorted to offering and selling the plots to the highest bidders. 

“The ICPC continued and completed this exercise and from it recovered a total of N53, 968, 158, 974.64. The figure comprises of part of the money that was paid and handed over in advance, about N858m fully recovered returned to FBN. 

“N1bn postdated cheques that are due this month of October and N51bn plus that were given to promissory notes in advance notarized agreement FMBN,” Owasanoye said.

Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abdulrashed Bawa, represented by a director, Daniel Esei, noted that developers flout laws by allowing third parties to make payments or buy houses, shortchanging real subscribers.

FCT Minister, Muhammed Bello, said due process would be ensured in land allocations, development and other requirements in the FCT, especially regarding mass housing development.

Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, represented by House Leader Alhassan Doguwa, stressed the need to sanitize the real estate sector to meet the housing needs of Nigerians.

President, Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria, Aliyu Wamakko said, said the developers referred to by the ICPC were not his members.

He said: “The leadership of REDAN did not and would not condone any sharp practices by any of our registered members.”

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