EFCC Empowers Real Estate Operators Against Money Laundering

EFCC Urges Professionalism and Due Diligence

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has called upon real estate operators in Port Harcourt and its surrounding areas to maintain professionalism and exercise due diligence when conducting business with customers.

Assistant Commander of the EFCC, Ibinabo Mary Amachree, delivered this message during a sensitization workshop on Anti-Money Laundering, Combating the Financing of Terrorism, and Countering Proliferation Financing (AML/CFT/CPF) organized by the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering (SCUML).

The workshop aimed to equip real estate operators with knowledge and tools to prevent money laundering.

Combating Corruption and Safeguarding National Resources

In her address, Ibinabo emphasized the importance of real estate operators being law-abiding citizens and avoiding involvement in corrupt practices that deplete the nation’s resources.

She urged them to conduct thorough due diligence and adhere to the principle of Know Your Customer (KYC) before finalizing any transaction.

Ibinabo highlighted the vulnerabilities in the real estate sector, including the presence of unlicensed operators, cash transactions, and the use of third parties.

She cautioned operators against becoming unwitting accomplices to money laundering schemes orchestrated by corrupt individuals.

Building Capacity and Reporting Suspicious Transactions

During the workshop, Mr. Sunji Audu, Head of SCUML in Port Harcourt, stressed the importance of building the capacity of real estate staff and appointing Compliance Officers in accordance with the provisions of the Money Laundering Act of 2022.

This step is crucial for effectively preventing money laundering activities within the sector. Abubakar Bello from the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) enlightened the participants on identifying and reporting suspicious transactions to the NFIU.

He emphasized that all real estate agents must promptly report any suspicious financial activities to the NFIU once transactions are concluded. Failure to report such activities can result in penalties and sanctions.

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