Michael Nzekwe, commander of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s (EFCC) Ilorin Zonal Command, has called on real estate agents in the state to work with the EFCC to root out corruption and discourage their usage as money launderers.
Nzekwe stated that his organization was going to do everything in its power to combat financial crime, including the use of sharp tactics and money laundering, in the real estate industry.
In a speech given at the Commission’s office in G.R.A., Ilorin, he said, “real estate is an avenue through which corrupt Nigerians launder proceeds of crime.” The Chairman of the Kwara Chapter of the Estate Rent and Commission Agent Association of Nigeria (ERCAAN), Adewole Onibokun, was also present.
He continued, “I was thrilled when I got your note that you would be coming to us on a courtesy visit since I know the meeting will allow us the opportunity to discuss how we can deal with this issue.
Nzekwe said that the association was a key player in the fight against corruption, and he urged its members to avoid unethical behavior by following the letter of the law and paying close 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 emphasized that “ignorance of the law is not an excuse,” and that “the commission will go after anyone that violates any of the extant laws guiding the operation of the real estate agents in the country.”
Section 3 of the AFF Act, 2006 states that “A person who, being the occupier or is concerned in the management of any premises, causes or knowingly permits the use of the premises for any purpose which constitutes an offence under this Act commits an offense and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not mor than seven years.” The Zonal Commander urged his guests to familiarize themselves with these laws and regulations.
According to him, under this section of the legislation, real estate brokers have an obligation to conduct thorough “KYC” (Know Your Customer) checks on all prospective clients before engaging in business with them.
Mr. Onibokun, the association’s chairman in Kwara State, had earlier expressed his organization’s willingness to assist the EFCC in its fight against money laundering and other financial crimes in the real estate sector, praising the EFCC for its “giant strides” in this area, especially the work of the Ilorin zonal command.