The chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa, says the EFCC is vigorously going after real estates in Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt.
Speaking Thursday at the media briefing organised by the Presidential Communication Team at the State House, Abuja, he identified the real estate sector as a major conduit for money laundering.
Bawa said 90 to 100 percent of stolen public funds were used for the procurement of houses and lands or have loots stored inside them .
“Estates are cropping up in Abuja left, right, centre every day with nobody living inside . There are estates in this country that are sold off-plan, sold and paid for. So, it’s a huge problem that we need to work with the media to unearth this issue. On our part, we’re vigorously going after that, after the real estates, particularly in Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt. That is an avenue that we’ve identified as an area where they’re hiding money.”
He said the commission would go after car, jewelry dealers and real estate developers who might be serving as conduits for money laundering.
Bawa said the commission was investigating the withdrawal of over N5bn from the treasury of one state in the country.
He said he was not referring to a serving minister in his recent narration of how a minister purchased a property through a bank chief.
He had on Tuesday in an interview on Channels Television, said the EFCC investigated a female minister, who bought $37.5million property from a bank and deposited $20million cash.
When asked why no minister had resigned or a bank manager being prosecuted over the matter, Bawa, said he was only making reference to a former Minister of Petroleum, Diezani Alison-Madueke’s case, insisting she would still be prosecuted “once she is in the country.”
He said the EFCC had so far recovered $100m from Integrated Logistics Services (INTELS) on behalf of the Nigerian Ports Authority.
“From the time I took over, we’ve recovered over N6billion, over $161 million, over £13,000, €1,730, 200 Canadian dollars, CFA 373,000, ¥8,430.
“We’ve recovered 30 real estates, one carpet, 13 electronics, one farm land, one factory, two motorcycles, one filling station and about 32 automobiles.”
Bawa said he had phoned the Inspector-General of Police on a death threat he received recently and would follow up with an official complaint at the Force headquarters for further action.
He also said the EFCC would again prosecute a former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, after his recent release from the correctional centre.
Meanwhile, House of Representatives Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, yesterday asked the EFCC chairman to go public and expose the names of those threatening him as well as issues of corruption involving such individuals.
Elumelu, in a statement, also called on the federal government not to ignore the alleged death threats on Bawa.