‘Developers sanitising real estate sector to curb money laundering’
The association said it has increased the working relationship with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Special Control Unit on Money Laundering (SCUML) to bring sanity to property development.
REDAN President, Ugo Chime said: “ Due to the high level of illicit funds that are flowing into the sector, it became necessary that REDAN will arise and work together with SCUML to put in place a mechanism to control in the inflow of funds, both for developments and for the purposes of those who are buying those houses, so that we will be able to ensure that our sector does not become the preferred sector for such illegal activities.’’
Apart from money laundering, he mentioned that a third dimension has been imputed into it recently, and that is the dimension of small arms procurement using the sector to fund some bandits and some insurgents. ‘’We have a provision in our membership form that requires every member to be registered with SCUML and to be able to abide by the policies and regulations and the procedures of SCUML in terms of control of money laundering and in terms of suspicious activities reporting,’’ he added.
REDAN is working collaboratively to find a mechanism to ensure that both SCUML and REDAN have an alignment of internal mechanisms. Under this arrangement, any developer that wishes to register with SCUML will also be required to register with REDAN.
‘’REDAN will do proper due diligence and ensure that we know your office. If you are developing an estate, we will be able to endorse it and know the source of your funding, and ensure that you comply with the extant laws, especially the anti-money laundering and terrorist financing act 2011.
“And we will also be able to ensure you understand the risk to which you are putting your organisation because if your company is found to be a source of money laundering, it has very serious legal consequences. And that is why we are working with SCUML and other agencies to make sure that we enhance the training of our members so that they know the risk of non-compliance and be motivated to comply,’’ he said.
He said that one of the key information they have shared with SCUML is the knowledge about the three groups that operate in the real sector. These groups are the professional estate surveyors and valuers; the brokers who intermediate between sellers and buyers of properties such as lawyers, estate valuers, estate agents, and investors.
“We’re ensuring growth and paradigm shift in homeownership approach and the sectorial activities as well as developers’ compliant with extant laws. We will ensure the provision of shelter, employment, and economic growth. We don’t want to be a conduit for money laundering for politically exposed persons,’’ he said.
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