“How Corrupt Nigerians Launder Stolen Funds Through Acquisition of Choice Properties in Abuja”Featured, Latest News, News Thursday, January 9th, 2014
By Kehinde Akintola, Abuja
Daring the consequences of the forces militating against anti-graft war in the country, Bala Mohammed, FCT Minister on Thursday gave vivid account on how corrupt Nigerians launder stolen money through acquisition of property in the nation’s capital city.
Mohammed who spoke while addressing Executive Chairman of Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) specifically called for deliberate action towards tracking the culprits and the need to bring them to book.
The Minister had in the last quarter of 2013 decried the spate of corruption in the land administration and involvement of some officials of AGIS.
While reiterating commitment towards stemming corruption within the system, the Minister called for closer collaboration with all the Anti-Corruption Agencies particularly the EFCC to be able to combat corruption.
According to him, “without the Anti-Corruption Agencies, I cannot imagine how the Federal Capital Territory would have been, as people steal money from all over the country and launder or conceal them in buying properties in Abuja”.
Mohammed lamented that such property owners have refused to come forward for Deed of Assignment (s) to ascertain the original ownership.
The Minister revealed that apart from concealment, the changing of hands of these properties without official sanction also deny the FCT Administration the revenue that should have accrued from such documentations.
His Words: “Until the current owners of these several properties in Abuja come forward for official documentation such as Deeds of Assignment, the government would continue to lose revenue in that area”.
He therefore urged the EFCC to use its expertise and beam its searchlight on properties scattered across the Federal Capital Territory, especially the unoccupied ones.
The Minister maintained that there are several unoccupied houses in Abuja, which also constitute security challenges to the entire residents of the Territory.
The Minister thus, called for a stringent law to be enacted that would regulate and force new ownership of properties in FCT to come forward to do the necessary documentations.
Promising to strengthen the existing cordial relationship between the FCT Administration and the EFCC, Mohammed stressed that since the FCT Property Tax is still before the National Assembly, efforts should be geared to marry them together.
The Minister urged the EFCC and other Anti-Graft Agencies not to spare any bad eggs in the system, as his Administration would not relent in its fight against any corrupt act.
Speaking earlier, the Executive Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Lamorde appreciated the support being enjoyed by the Commission from the FCT Administration and particularly the Minister in the war against corruption.
The Chairman advised the FCT Administration to discourage the use of cash in any way pertaining to land acquisition in the Federal Capital Territory to enable the Commission to easily track all transactions on landed properties.
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