By Soni Daniel
ABUJA—The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, yesterday raised an alarm that unscrupulous elements posing as estate developers had taken over Abuja in a bid to swindle unsuspecting home seekers in the Federal Capital Territory.
The commission said it had to raise the alarm following the upsurge in the number of innocent persons who have already fallen victims to the conmen recently.
The EFCC’s Head of Media and Publicity, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, in a statement made available to Vanguard, said that the fraudsters had taken it upon themselves to make bogus offers to low and middle income earners who are in desperate need of affordable houses in the capital territory.
Explaining how the conmen in the real estate business operate, Uwujaren said they merely go to town to deceive their victims once they are given land allocation by the FCDA without having the means to develop the plots.
”Usually, the so called developers, once they are able to secure land allocation from the FCDA, create gorgeous computer assisted designs of prototype estate and launch aggressive media blitz for prospective home owners to subscribe for different categories of houses at attractive prices,” the EFCC spokesman said.
”They target low and middle income earners who cannot afford outright cash purchase of property in the capital city. For this category of citizens, such offers are irresistible as they present immediate escape from the burden of prohibitive yearly rents.
”They embrace such scheme with the hope that the payment spread over many years will provide the cushion to do other things.
”But no sooner than they pay the initial deposits, they are inundated with various excuses for the developers; inability to deliver the properties.”
According to the commission, some prospective home owners have waited for many years hoping against hope for their promised houses to be delivered, having parted with their money.
”While the hapless prospective home owners rue their plight, the so called developers disappear completely from the radar to enjoy their loot. Those who do not disappear continue to make promises that are never redeemed.
”The more ruthless amongst them are prepared to wear out the scammed subscribers through tedious litigations in court, fully aware that many of the low income persons lacked the resources to sustain legal actions over a long time,” the commission pointed out.