The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Lamorde, has disclosed that some people are now laundering proceeds of crime through land and property acquisition in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Lamorde, who made this disclosure when he paid a courtesy call on the FCT Minister, Senator Bala Mohammed, in his office, said such persons do not use financial instruments to make payment for properties and often do not bother to change ownership after such acquisitions, making it difficult to verify the identities of the new owners or the sources of funds.
The spokesperson of the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, who said this through a statement yesterday in Abuja, added that Lamorde called for an enhanced working relationship between the commission and the FCT Administration (FCTA ) in order to curb land scam and other fraudulent practices in the FCT.
He disclosed further that about 270 cases of land scam were reported to the commission in the last three years, while the commission suspected insider abuse in some of the cases investigated.
He called on the minister to be prepared to initiate disciplinary action against erring officers.
The FCT minister, while responding, also lamented the fact that “the capital territory as a jurisdiction is used as a citadel of corruption and also for perpetuating acts of corruption.”
He added that: “People from the states and local government illegally acquire money and come to get it hidden in the FCT through acquisition of properties that are not registered and that is a big concern because it is depriving the FCT of the revenue needed and increasing corruption in the capital territory. It is also increasing security challenges because most of the houses acquired are left vacant and we have no means of knowing who owns them.”
The minister thanked the EFCC chairman for the visit and commended the commission for its effort at stamping 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.
He 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. [Thisday]