Economic and Financial Crimes Commission says it is zeroing in on those posing as real estate business owners to perpetrate money laundering and other financial crimes.
EFCC lawyer, Chris Mishela, while speaking in Benin, Edo State, during a training session for journalists on effective reporting of economic and financial crimes, said many estates springing up in Abuja, Lagos and other parts of the country were believed to be proceeds of fraud and money laundering.
According to him, “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 government or from international crime that is used to launder through estate business.
“Real estate is one of the designated and non-designated professions that is 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 explained that the training was to keep journalists abreast of the framework of new anti-money laundering Act 2022 and the role expected of them.
Mishela 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the public aware of the expanded scope of the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act 2022 as against the repealed Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2011 necessitated the workshop.
Head, Cyber Crimes Unit, EFCC Benin, Mrs Oluwakemi Olawoyin, who spoke on risks and benefits associated with digital payment system, warned the public against opening any link they didn’t initiate while on the Internet.
Olawoyin who also highlighted tactics for safe transactions on the various e-business platforms, also advised the public to beware of unsecured sites.
Assistant Commander, Public Affairs Unit of EFCC, Mr Dele Oyewale, charged journalists on investigative reporting to provide the commission a lead for fraud investigation.