Adibe Emenyonu in Benin-City
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has stated that many estates in Abuja, Lagos, and other states were believed to be proceeds of fraud and money laundering and vowed to unmask those hiding under real estate to launder money and perpetrate other financial crimes.
Speaking at the weekend during a training session for journalists on effective reporting of the economic and financial crimes in Benin City, Edo State, EFCC lawyer, Chris Mishela, alleged that funds that were illegally gotten either from the government or from international crimes were used to launder through estate business.
He said: “In Abuja, you see so many estates coming all over and we believe the sources of these funds are unlawful funds. The funds are illegally gotten either from the government or from an international crime that is used to launder through estate business.
“Real estate is one of the designated and non-designated professions that are also under our obligation under the establishment to do a full disclosure.
“So, EFCC is actually working to look into that dimension and the new Money Laundering Act has provided an opening for the government to look into the aspect of real estate as we saw under the Act.
“It is not an investigation that is going on, rather we have identified specifically that these are proceeds of crime,” he added.
He explained that the training was to keep journalists abreast of the framework of the new anti-money laundering Act 2022 and the role they were expected to play.
He added that the need to make the public aware of the expanded scope of the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act 2022 as against the repealed Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 necessitated the workshop.
The Head of the Cyber Crimes Unit in EFCC, Benin, Mrs Oluwakemi Olawoyin, in her presentation on risks and benefits associated with digital payment systems, charged the public not to open any link which they didn’t initiate while on the Internet.
While highlighting tactics for safe transactions on the various e-business platforms, she advised the public to beware of unsecured sites.
On his part, Assistant Commander, Public Affairs Unit of EFCC, Mr. Dele Oyewale, charged journalists on investigative reporting to provide the commission a lead for fraud investigation.