Nigeria has ranked fifth among countries with the most politically exposed individuals in real estate money laundering schemes, according to a report by Global Financial Integrity in the United States of America.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, has said that 90 percent of money laundering is done through the real estate sector.
In all honesty, this is a sector that needs to be checked. The bogus amount laundered through this sector is alarming. Taking a drive to choice areas in Lagos or major urban locations in the country, one will easily see choice properties uninhabited, but maintained to taste. Most times, findings have shown that’s the way corrupt proceeds are integrated back into the system.
Our politicians have found a safe haven in the real estate sector to launder money as well as choice properties far and wide. Infact, all over the world our political actors have luxurious houses registered in their names.
Estate developers, bankers, and lawyers are the key gatekeepers in this laundering process as there is a systemic model of laundering funds in the real estate sector.
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) just recently recovered 53 billion naira from a real estate developer. This is according to the chairman of ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, during a meeting with the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee investigating the operations of real estate developers in FCT.
The real estate sector is filled and laced with corruption, with developers cashing out big-time from fake layout, double allocations and others.
Uncompleted projects are so rampant after collecting money from unsuspecting clients. Some clients only see their houses on papers.
The huge housing deficit is also a huge problem. This is a wake up call for the government to look inward and create lasting solutions to the housing issues all across the nation.
The legislative arm should also come up with more stringent regulations to curb the excesses of the sector.
Who are the ones benefiting mostly from this rot? The answer is boldly written on the wall of our hearts and minds.
According to the EFCC chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, he gave an instance of a minister who expressed interest in a $37.5 million property which a bank manager put up for sale.
This alone is enough to earn you jail term in serious spheres, but this is Nigeria.
We can’t fight corruption without dealing and tackling the threats this monster tends to present; we must move forward as a nation. Enough of this bogus wastage and stealing.