by Sarah NEGEDU
Criminals and money launderers seeking to conceal their loot in real estates in the nation’s capital may have to reconsider the action, as the FCT Administration has vowed to identify and hand over owners of such properties to the appropriate authorities.
FCT minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, who dropped the hint over the weekend, said the administration has already identified some offending properties purchased with ill-gotten funds and the properties used to launder such funds.
Bello, while speaking during the commissioning of a 5-storey office complex of the Abuja Property Development Company, APDC, said the FCTA was working closely with the Real Estate Development Association of Nigeria, the National Assembly as well as anti-graft agencies in this regard.
Bello also condemned the actions of unscrupulous developers who construct without appropriate permission, especially along the fringes of the FCC, warning that such buildings will be pulled down no matter how highly placed their owners were.
In his words, “there are certain investors, unscrupulous persons who decide especially on the fringes of the city, to build without permission, to build on unallocated land, to build with impunity and to spend enormous amount of resources on fraudulent allocations or none at all and without building permits. You most probably have noticed that over the last few weeks, we have been demolishing and we will continue to demolish them.”
Bello also said that staff of the FCTA who sign off on, and allow illegal buildings to be developed will also be punished saying “for every property that is allowed to stand and an official somewhere has not done his or her work, we will not spare these officials as well because at the end of the day, it is the off-takers that lose out.”
He, therefore, advised off-takers or other investors who wish to purchase any property to do their due diligence and ensure that the properties and the developers were genuine.
The minister assured credible developers and investors that their properties will not be touched as long as their properties were erected on genuinely allocated land with the proper documents adding that they should also procure the services of a solicitor for legal guidance and advice before concluding any purchase.
He also assured that the FCTA will place emphasis on planning and development control measures in the establishment of estates to ensure that facilities such as play areas, provision for community centers-shopping facilities, places of worship and educational facilities are included.
Speaking earlier, the Managing Director of the APDC, Builder Lawal Magaji, paid tribute to his predecessors and said that the building was constructed without taking any loan and that parts of it were already leased and commended the minister for his support to the company.