The Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN) has inaugurated a 10-man committee to check members’ involvement in money laundering and swindling of prospective home owners.
This came on the heels of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC’s) revelation that the real estate sector is one with grand standing corruption in the country.
EFCC chairman, Abdurasheed Bawa, was reported to have said 90 to 100 percent of resources was being laundered through the sector.
Speaking while inaugurating the committee in Abuja, REDAN president, Alhaji Aliyu Oroji Wamakko, said the committee comprises men and women of impeccable character to flush out the bad eggs in the sector.
He assured that the association would not spare anybody who disregards the ethics of the profession by swindling people of their hard earned money.
He said, “We are here to provide homes for the teeming Nigerians. So, if you are caught in the act, you will be made to refund the home takers their money, because it is not in our tradition to make ourselves look stupid in the eyes of the public.”
The REDAN president said the move was to regulate ‘’ourselves instead of allowing other people to regulate us.’’
Reacting to the EFCC chairman’s statement that 90 percent of money laundering comes through the real estate sector, Wamakko said some people were from other professions before they joined real estate development which needed to be protected by real members.
“But real estate is our business and we need to protect it, because if we didn’t protect it, it will affect us. If we allow other people to come and protect it for us, it will be a shame for us in the future.
“That’s why we made a move to regulate the real estate sector by inaugurating a bill to the National Assembly and by the grace of God it will soon go into second reading. And that bill will give us security in the aspect of real estate business because it will regulate us, we the providers and also the off takers will also be protected,” he said.
Wamakko noted that there is a need to involve the stakeholders in the security agencies such as SCUML and NFIU which had been the association`s long standing partners, adding that what they were expecting from REDAN was to make reports on developers’ activities rather than give statements of accounts.
He added; “They are only asking you to give them a report of your activities, this report doesn’t take anything from you, because I believe all of us are men and women of integrity.
“We will be able to do whatever it takes to defend our integrity and we should endeavour to be reporting with our collaborators, they stand with us, at the last time myself and our immediate past president, Chime Ugwo were at SCUML where we represented real estate and were surprised to see the international monetary community that came into the country, we defended the real estate because we were the only self-regulatory association that was there, and they said, 82 percent are attached to money laundry in the real estate sector at that time, but today I found it amazing when the EFCC said that 90 percent of money comes through the real estate.”
Wamakko enjoined REDAN members to remain steadfast in its undying effort to sanitise the sector from money launderers and fraudsters just as he said that there some members that have to face its arbitration panel.
“We are already in synergy with Abuja chambers of commerce of which there is an arbitration proceeding and they have written a letter and extended a hand of fellowship to us that we should team up together to arbitrate the issue of our members before we go out public.
“I think we can do it at home before going public. Definitely, we know some of our members registered simply because he/ she needs to become our member, but you cannot exonerate him/ her from land racketeering, we know them, they are among our midst, and there is a need for us to call them to order, but let it be in – house first,” he said.