Nigerian politicians own 800 properties worth $400m in London, Dubai, says Expert

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Mathew Page, an associate fellow of Chatham House, London, has advised Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) investigators to focus on real estate and education sectors, when tracking illicit financial flows and money laundering.

He gave the advise in a paper he presented entitled “IFFs through the Real Estate and Education Sectors: Implications for Investigators” at a capacity building forum for ICPC investigators on investigating Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs), on Tuesday, in Abuja.

Page stressed that focusing on the two sectors had become necessary as IFFs had provided opportunities for politically exposed persons (PEPs) in Nigeria to launder money through real estate and education sectors.

“Most of the property held by Nigerian politicians in London and Dubai are held by proxies, family and shell companies.

“Over 800 property worth over $400 million have been linked to Nigerian PEPs (Politically exposed persons),” Page said.

Speaking earlier, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, the ICPC Chairman, said that the capacity building programme would help investigators to track illicit financial flows, money laundering and other areas the government was losing revenue and recover such funds.

“The loss of revenue is a major challenge to developing countries, particularly Nigeria.

“The meeting is therefore designed to build the capacity of our investigators to enable them trace the areas in which the government is losing money.

“One of the takeaways from here is the kind of question an investigator needs to ask in tracking IFFs and money laundering,” Owasanoye explained.

“Also, to 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”, he added.

He stressed the need to widen the revenue base, improve tax collection, combat tax evasion and illicit financial flows, as well as asset recovery to improve the country’s finances.