From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja
The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) on Sunday said it has recovered N53 billion from a real estate developer for the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria.
The Commission in a statement quoted the Chairman of ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye who made the disclosure during a recent meeting with the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee Investigating the Operations of Real Estate Developers in FCT.
According to him, the developer took the money without providing houses for its subscribers. He stressed that the Commission will always deploy its mandates against developers who took public funds with the promise to provide houses for public or civil servants without doing so.
Owasanoye also lamented the rising housing deficit in the country noting that unscrupulous real estate developers in the Federal Capital Territory took advantage of desperate civil servants to scam them of their hard-earned money in the name of housing projects.
He added that the Commission was desirous of partnering with the ad-hoc committee to bring sanity to the housing sector because of its critical nature to the government.
He told the committee that one of the ways to tackle the housing deficit and fraudulent real estate developers in the country was for the government to completely deploy technology as well as grant easy access to information.
He said, “The lack of openness is also creating problems. Government should at least put information in the public domain where people can easily verify details of land. A lot of people are scammed from fake layout, double allocations and others.”
Earlier, the Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee, Hon. Blessing Onoh, observed that cases of developers defrauding would-be house owners was becoming rampant.
Onoh maintained that it was common for real estate developers to start projects, later abandon them and move on to other cites after collecting monies from subscribers.
She said that the committee was set up to proffer solutions to the anomalies and ensure that Nigerians who subscribed to housing projects end up owning them in accordance with the terms of agreement they entered.