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The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) has instructed estate agents in Port Harcourt and its environs to conduct due diligence in their client dealings.
Wilson Uwujaren, a spokesman for EFCC and the acting assistant commissioner of the EFCC, Ibinabo Mary Amachree, made the statement at a sensitisation session hosted by the SCUML on Anti-Money Laundering, Countering Proliferation Financing, and Combating Financing Terrorism in Port Harcourt. During the session, the EFCC instructed estate agents to ensure KYC and due diligence in customer dealings and transactions.
As a representative of the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering‘s director, Daniel Isei, Ibinabo advised real estate operators to adhere to the law and avoid becoming victims of corrupt politicians who syphon off the nation’s resources. In her remarks, she stated, “I urge you to always conduct due diligence and apply the principle of ‘Know Your Customers’ (KYC) before consummating any transaction.”
According to her, the sector is vulnerable to unlicensed operators, cash transactions, and third-party involvement due to weak entry controls. Nonetheless, she emphasised that the operators should avoid being used by corrupt elements to commit money laundering crimes.
Moreover, Sunji Audu, the head of SCUML Port Harcourt command, informed the operators about the need to strengthen their staff’s capacity and appoint compliance officers per the Money Laundering Act, 2022. NFIU representative Abubakar Bello provided the participants with information regarding the identification and suspicious transactions alerting the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit.
“All real estate agents must report every suspicious financial transaction to the NFIU immediately after the transactions are consummated,” he said. In his warning, he noted that failing to report these activities or transactions may result in sanctions or penalties.