Over 800 properties worth $400 million in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) have been traced to Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) in Nigeria.
Matthew Page, an associate fellow, Chatham House, said this while delivering a paper titled Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) in Real Estate and Education Sector: Implications for Investigators at a 2-Day Capacity Building for Investigators on Investigating IFFs organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
Disclosing that 35 state governors have acquired a total of 69 properties, Page noted that five presidency staff members were controlling 13 properties, while 16 lawmakers are in possession of 45 properties.
According to the findings, 15 ministers have 25 properties, 158 suspected politicians’ proxies are in control of 226 properties, 14 security sector leaders 71, 50 PEP-linked business persons 91, 13 Known Nigerian law enforcement agency suspects 216, 16 heads of department and agency 25, 11 NNPC officials 19, a judge has one.
Page, who blamed lack of transparency, huge financial flows and inadequate international safeguard for the development further disclosed that Nigerian politicians are spending over $30 million annually on UK education, which he said was beyond their annual earnings.
He urged investigators to compare these payments to their known assets and incomes, examine third party payments, request forex data, review media for PEP schooling and probe MDAs that provides scholarships.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, ICPC chairman, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye stated that the capacity building programme would help investigators to track illicit financial flows, money laundering and other areas the government is losing revenue and recover such funds.
“The loss of revenue is a major challenge to developing countries, particularly Nigeria,” Owasanoye said.
“The meeting is, therefore, designed to build the capacity of our investigators to enable them to trace the areas in which the government is losing money, look for the likely places people hide money, stop the illicit financial flows, and recover the funds.
“We are already working with the FIRS and getting a lot of tax evaders and defaulters into the nation’s tax net. One of the takeaways from here is the kind of question an investigator needs to ask in tracking IFFs and money laundering.”
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