• Wednesday, May 22, 2024
businessday logo


EFCC tasks estate agents on curbing money laundering

EFCC nabs five for possessing illegally-mined minerals in Kwara

Michael Nzekwe, commander of the Ilorin zonal command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has urged real estate agents to join hands with the commission in the fight against corruption and avoid being used as conduit pipe for money laundering.

Nzekwe said his command was determined to fight financial crime through enforcement of all regulations with a view to guiding against sharp practices and money laundering, especially in the real estate sector.

Read also: EFCC detains, AMCON receiver manager over N120bn fraud at Arik Air

He stated this when he received executive members of the Kwara chapter of Estate Rent and Commission Agent Association of Nigeria, (ERCAAN), led by Adewole Onibokun at the commission’s office in Ilorin.

He said: “Real estate is an avenue through which corrupt Nigerians launder proceeds of crime. I was delighted when I got your letter that you would be coming to us on a courtesy visit because I know the visit will offer us the opportunity to discuss how we can deal with this issue.”

Nzekwe described the association as one of the critical stakeholders in the fight against corruption and admonished members to live above board, while paying serious attention to the provisions of the new Money Laundering Act, 2022 (as amended) and the Advance Fee Fraud Act and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006.

He warned that “ignorance of the law is not an excuse” adding that “the commission will go after anyone that violates any of the extant laws on the operation of the real estate agents in the country.”

Read also: EFCC docks man for stealing N251.6m in Ibadan

The zonal commander advised his guests to adequately acquaint themselves with the laws and regulations guiding the real estate sector particularly Section 3 of the AFF Act, 2006 which states that, “A person who, being the occupier or is concerned in the management of any premises, causes or knowingly permits the premises to be used for any purpose which constitutes an offence under this Act commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not more than 15 years and not less than five years without the option of a fine.”

He added that this provision of the law placed serious responsibilities on Real Estate Agents to make “KYC” (Know Your Customer) a precondition in dealing with customers so as to be free of liabilities in case of any eventuality.

Read also: EFCC arrests 20 suspected internet fraudsters in Ibadan

He also called on members of the association to ensure compliance with the regulation requiring registration and certification of their businesses by the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering (SCUML) and urged them to report cases of suspicious transactions to the appropriate agencies as required by the law.

Earlier, Onibokun, the association’s chairman, commended the EFCC, particularly the efforts of the Ilorin zonal command in fighting corruption and expressed the willingness of his members to assist the commission in fighting money laundering and other financial crimes in the real estate sector.

According to him, ERCAAN was founded in 1990 to promote the interest of real estate agents who engage in genuine and honest real estate property business practices.