The chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Lamorde has called for an enhanced working relationship between the Commission and the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA in order to curb land scam and other fraudulent practices in the FCT.
Lamorde made the appeal Thursday January 9, 2014 during a courtesy visit to the minister of the FCT, Senator Bala Mohammed.
According to the EFCC chairman, there was need for closer collaboration between the EFCC and FCTA as some unscrupulous people were laundering proceeds of crime through land and property acquisitions in the FCT. He noted that 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 fund.
He disclosed that over 270 cases of land scam were reported to the Commission in the last 3 years.
Lamorde noted that the Commission suspected insider abuse in some of the cases investigated and called on the minister to be prepared to initiate disciplinary action against erring officers.
In his response, the minister thanked the EFCC chairman for the visit and commended the Commission for its effort to stamp 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.
Senator Mohammed disclosed that the commission has supported the FCTA in terms of arresting the scourge of corruption and leakages in the FCT especially on land premiums. He said the most brazen of the vices was land fraud and that the EFCC has assisted by arresting and prosecuting those involved.
According to the FCT minister, “it is sad that the capital territory as a jurisdiction is used as a citadel of corruption and also for perpetuating acts of corruption, 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”, he said.
The minister 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.
The EFCC chairman was accompanied on the visit by senior management staff of the agency including the Director, Organisational Support, Mr Bolaji Salami; Director of Operations, Mr Olaolu Adegbite; Director of Legal and Prosecution, Mr Chile Okoroma and Deputy Director, Public Affairs, Mr. Osita Nwajah.