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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) urges real estate agents to strengthen their collaboration with the commission to combat financial crimes.
The commander of the Ilorin zonal EFCC, Michael Nzekwe, has addressed the real estate agents to avoid being used by money launderers as a conduit pipe to launder black money. Nzekwe commanded real estate sectors to fight against financial crimes by complying with the latest Anti-Money Laundering (AML) obligations and enforcing strengthened measures as well as sharp compliance practices.
In the meeting with the executive members of the Kwara Estate Rent and Commission Agent Association of Nigeria (ERCAAN) at the commission office, the EFCC commander stated, “Real estate is an avenue through which corrupt Nigerians launder proceeds of crime. I was delighted when I got your letter that you would be coming to us on a courtesy visit because I know the visit will offer us the opportunity to discuss how we can deal with this issue.”
He also emphasised that the real estate sector is a critical participant in fighting against money laundering and reducing corruption in the country, but all this can be accomplished once the industry devotes close consideration to the terms of the 2006 Advance Fee Fraud Act and other Fraud Related Offences Act including the new Money Laundering Act, 2022. The zonal commander also forced estate agents to comply adequately with the laws, particularly Section 3 of the AFF Act, 2006, which states, “A person who, being the occupier or is concerned in the management of any premises, causes or knowingly permits the premises to be used for any purpose which constitutes an offence under this Act commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not more than 15 years and not less than five years without the option of a fine.”
According to Nzekwe, they should promote safe real estate businesses. Complying with the law places a serious responsibility on real estate agents to conduct adequate Know-Your-Customer (KYC) and due diligence practices in dealing with the entities so that in case of any fraudulent incident in the future, they are free of liabilities.
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