EFCC: Real Estate Sector, Second Most vulnerable To Money Laundering
Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa has revealed that the real estate sector is the second most vulnerable sector to money laundering practices in Nigeria.
He stated this in Abuja at a Workshop by the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa, GIABA.
In his speech, Bawa reaffirmed the commitment of the Commission to combat money laundering and terrorism financing in the real estate sector.
According to him, places like Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano, and Lagos are some of the major cities where properties are regularly purchased mostly in cash and often in foreign currencies, with no questions asked by anybody, about the legality of such transactions.
Bawa, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Hadiza Gamawa Zubairu, stressed that, based on the existing realities of the real sector, the EFCC will leave no stone unturned in combating money laundering practices in the sector.
She says, “Just last year in July, the EFCC launched an App called “The Eagle Eye” which has eased the processes of reporting economic and financial crimes and also exposed the flow of illicit funds in the real estate sector. This indeed has provided useful intelligence and goes to show the level of commitment that EFCC has in the real estate sector”.
She restated the readiness of the EFCC to collaborate with relevant stakeholders in its efforts toward combating the menace, while also strengthening the capacity of the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering, SCUML to effectively discharge its responsibilities in enforcing compliance in the real estate sector.
The EFCC boss pointed out that weak regulations, a lack of firm standards for business practices, and poor adherence to laws are among the loopholes exploited in the real sector to launder funds.
Also, the Director of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU Modibbo Hamman Tukur called for collaboration and coordination among agencies, locally and regionally, in combating money laundering and illicit financial flows.
He proposed stronger legislative regulations, including the need for every citizen in GIABA member states to be linked to a unified identification number, in order to make it easier to track culprits.
Additionally, Secretary, Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria, REDAN, Yunusa Shuaibu, called for stricter regulation and coordination in the real sector.
He stressed that “the sector is currently free for all. We are ready to cooperate at all times to achieve this feat and this is why we decided to sponsor a bill at the National Assembly”.