Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC
By Levinus Nwabughiogu, ABUJA
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, has said that 301 houses were recovered from two public officers, adding that real estate aids illicit financial flows, IFF.
The agency said “the real estate sector is globally recognised as attractive to IFF largely because it is partially informal, not properly regulated and so easily open to abuse.
ICPC made the revelations at an investigative hearing of the House on corruption in real estate sector, where the ICPC and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, fingered some officials of government as culprits.
In his presentation, the ICPC Chairman, Professor Owasanonye said: “Public officers acquire estates in pseudonyms to conceal the illegal origin of funds.
“This is made possible by the absence of proper documentation, the registration of titles to land and estates in the country and the non-enforcement of beneficial ownership standards.
“A tour round Abuja, especially the metropolis and the central area, would show a lot of estates that are built up but empty.
“If they had been constructed with funds that were borrowed at market rates, I don’t think any investor would leave such proprieties empty
“ One way or the other they would put them to use. So it is suspected that some of those estates have been used to launder ill-gotten public funds.
“The commission has, for example, a case in which recovered 241 houses from a public officer and another one in which we recovered 60 buildings on a large expanse of land from public officer.”