The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Lamorde, stated that property acquisitions in Abuja became a paradise for money laundering by dishonest persons. He added that a huge number of palatial but unoccupied houses dotting the landscape of Abuja is a vivid evidence to this claim.
The EFCC boss paid a courtesy visit to the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Mohammed, in Abuja on January 9, 2014, Thursday.
In the course of the meeting Mr. Lamorde narrated that the Commission had uncovered money laundering schemes in the FCT in which the perpetrators disguise the proceeds of crime by investing in properties.
He explained that those involved in these nefarious acts do not purchase properties with bank instruments, but prefer to pay for their acquisition with cash. The laundered funds are frequently converted into foreign currencies through the Bureau de Change before the purchases are made.
The EFCC boss further disclosed that such persons do not bother to change ownership after such acquisitions, making it difficult to verify the identities of the new owners or the sources of fund.
According to him, over 270 cases of land scam were reported to the EFCC during the last 3 years.
Lamorde noted that the Commission suspected insider abuse in some of the cases investigated and called on the minister to be prepared to initiate disciplinary action against erring officers.
The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Mohammed, thanked the EFCC Chairman for the visit and commended the Commission for its effort to stamp out corruption in the FCT.
“Without anti corruption agencies like the EFCC, ICPC, I am not sure how the FCT would have been ranked and so we will continue to give the commission support in order to build a vibrant relationship where it won’t be business as usual,” he said.
The Minister disclosed that the FCTA was working with the Abuja Geographical Information System, AGIS to upgrade their system in such a manner that it would be difficult for anybody to impersonate, manipulate or forge land documents.However, he noted that former employees of the authority were duping unsuspecting but desperate members of the public while posing as staff of the FCTA.