The Commander of the Ilorin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Michael Nzekwe, has urged real estate agents in the state to collaborate with the commission in combating corruption and avoiding involvement in money laundering.
Nzekwe emphasized his commitment to combating financial crime by enforcing regulations, particularly in the real estate sector, to prevent fraudulent activities and money laundering.
During a meeting with executive members of the Kwara Chapter of Estate Rent and Commission Agent Association of Nigeria (ERCAAN), led by Chairman Adewole Onibokun, at the Commission’s office in G.R.A, Ilorin, Nzekwe highlighted that corrupt individuals often use real estate to launder ill-gotten gains.
He expressed satisfaction with the association’s visit, stating that it provided an opportunity to discuss strategies to address this issue.
Nzekwe recognized the association as a crucial partner in the fight against corruption and urged its members to adhere to the provisions of the new Money Laundering Act, 2022 (as amended), and the Advance Fee Fraud Act and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006. He emphasized that ignorance of the law would not be an excuse, and the commission would take legal action against violators.
The Zonal Commander advised his guests to familiarize themselves with the laws governing the real estate sector, particularly Section 3 of the AFF Act, 2006, which stipulates severe penalties for those who allow their premises to be used for unlawful purposes.
He stressed the importance of implementing “KYC” (Know Your Customer) practices to protect real estate agents from legal liabilities.
In his statement; “I was delighted when I got your letter that you would be coming to us on a courtesy visit because I know the visit will offer us the opportunity to discuss how we can deal with this issue,” he said.
He added that “ignorance of the law is not an excuse,” adding that “the commission will go after anyone that violates any of the extant laws guiding the operation of the real estate agents in the country.
”The Zonal Commander urged his guests to adequately acquaint themselves with the laws and regulations guiding the real estate sector, particularly Section 3 of the AFF Act, 2006, which states that, “A person who, being the occupier or is concerned in the management of any premises, causes or knowingly permits the premises to be used for any purpose which constitutes an offence under this Act commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not more than 15 years and not less than 5 years without the option of a fine.”
Chairman Adewole Onibokun of the Kwara State Association praised the EFCC for its anti-corruption efforts, especially the Ilorin zonal command’s contributions. He expressed his members’ willingness to support the commission in combating money laundering and financial crimes within the real estate sector.