Money Laundering: ICPC investigating unoccupied estates in Nigeria – Official

By Harry Awurumibe, Editor Abuja Bureau

As part of measures to address Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs), the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) has said it would intensify ongoing investigations of many completed but unoccupied estates in the country especially in the major cities like the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

This much was disclosed by Director of Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management (ATRM), Adedayo Kayode, at the opening of a two-day capacity building for Investigators, Prosecutors and Tax Inspectors on IFFs, organised by the commission in collaboration with Ford Foundation.

Kayode who presented a paper titled, “Illicit Financial Flows in Real Estate,” said that continuation of ongoing investigation of completed but unoccupied estates across the federation was one of the antidote to the issue.

This was however contained in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja by the agency’s Spokesperson, Mrs Azuka Ogugua.

The statement quoted the Director as saying: “The ICPC, in accordance with its mandate to curb corruption, is currently investigating cases of completed, but abandoned estates scattered around the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) with the intention of identifying those that are instruments of IFFs.

“Furthermore, we are collaborating with the National Assembly to investigate, study and promulgate appropriate legislation to stem the tide of corruption in the real estate sector. We need a coordinated and concerted approach to fight IFFs – the law enforcement agencies need continuous investment in capacity building to trace and follow the money, their need for implementation and investigation of breaches of the beneficial ownership rule and data availability and intelligence sharing are must.”

Other solutions listed by Kayode include sanctions on land holding without development after prescribed number of years; enforcement and compliance of investigation of capital gain tax on real estate transactions; strengthening of international cooperation on investigation of cross-border real estate purchase transactions; full implementation of beneficial ownership regulation and regulation of foreign exchange trade and movement.

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