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Abuja land fraud: ICPC seizes 61 houses, plots from civil defence official

November 8, 2013

A single civil defense official owned 61 houses in Abuja.
The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission, ICPC, said it has broken the ring of land racketeers in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The agency said it seized 61 houses, plots of land and several bank accounts belonging to a top official of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSDC, an agency whose many officials were involved in the fraud.
The Chairman of the Commission, Ekpo Nta, told the House of Representatives Ad-Hoc Committee probing alleged fraud in the  land swap, allocations and racketeering in the Nigerian capital that the seizures included 45 plots of land at different locations within Abuja, a duplex, and several bank accounts used by the syndicate for the illegal transactions.
Mr. Nta said the 61 houses confiscated from the civil defense official consisted of 40 Nos. three bedroom flats; 20Nos. two bedroom flats and a duplex, adding that the Commission wrote officially to the appropriate government land authorities to verify the status of the seized property and publication made in national dailies to warn members of the public to avoid their falling victims of the illegal deals.
The Chairman said the agency had embarked on the investigation following a formal complaint from the Commandant General of the NSCDC,
Ade Abolurin, who demanded for an investigation into allegations that some officials of the Corps were involved in illegal land sales to unsuspecting members of the Public in the name of the agency under a non-existing Housing Estate Scheme in Abuja and Nassarawa State.
Following the report, a special squad constituted by the commission was immediately directed to unravel the identities of the perpetrators.
“In the course of the investigations, we established that six different companies were used in the scam,” the Chairman of the anti-graft agency said.
”We froze the bank accounts of certain officers and the companies used. We seized several properties, including 61 houses, 45 plots of land and a duplex traced to some of the officers.
“Interestingly, the 61 houses made up of 40 units of three bedroom flats, 20 units of two-bedroom flats and a duplex were seized from a single officer.”
The ICPC boss said a company, Danime Nigeria Limited, through which the NSCDC officials carried out the illegal deals, was not among the six other companies that were investigated, promising to commence another round of investigation on it based on the new information.
He stated that all the interrogated officers had been released on administrative bail, except one who was on the run, adding that investigation had revealed that the affected officers used the NSCD’s Co-operative Society to swindle the members of the public who thought it was a genuine transaction since it involved the name of the Corps.
The transactions were said to have taken place within the premises of the FCT Command of the Corps located at Gudu district, with the officers always wearing NSDC uniform during such illegal transactions to convince their victims of the genuineness of the transactions.
On whether the NSDC as an organization was culpable in the scam, the Chairman said investigations so far showed that the its Commandant General knew nothing about the deal until it got wind of the development, which he promptly reported to the ICPC for an independent investigation.
On possible compensation for the 186 victims of the scam, the ICPC Chairman said that was beyond the powers of the Commission to decide, pointing out that the final decision rested on the court.
“Ours is to arrest, investigate and prosecute. But as we speak, we have established abuse of office against some of the officers investigated. It is the court that will now decide their fate. But the law recognizes the interest of procurer,” he said.
Source:Premium Times

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