Over 800 properties worth $400 million have been linked to Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) in Nigeria in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
This was stated by Matthew Page, a Chatham House associate fellow, while delivering a paper titled Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) in the Real Estate and Education Sector: Implications for Investigators at the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission’s 2-Day Capacity Building for Investigators on Investigating IFFs (ICPC).
Page revealed that 35 state governors own a total of 69 properties, with five members of the White House staff owning 13 and 16 members of Congress owning 45.
15 ministers have 25 properties, 158 accused politicians’ proxies have 226 properties, 14 security sector leaders have 71, 50 PEP-linked business persons have 91, 13 Known Nigerian law enforcement agency suspects have 216, 16 heads of department and agency have 25, 11 NNPC officials have 19, and a judge has one, according to the findings.
Page, who blamed the development on a lack of transparency, large financial flows, and insufficient foreign safeguards, also revealed that Nigerian politicians spend more than $30 million annually on UK education, which he claims is more than their annual earnings.
Investigators should compare these payments to the recipients’ known assets and incomes, look into third-party payments, request forex data, look into media for PEP schooling, and look into MDAs that provide scholarships, he said.
ICPC Chairman Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye said earlier in his welcome remarks that the capacity building program will assist investigators in tracking illegal financial transactions, money laundering, and other places where the government is losing revenue and recovering those funds.
“The loss of revenue is a major challenge to developing countries, particularly Nigeria,” Owasanoye said.
“The meeting is, therefore, designed to build the capacity of our investigators to enable them to trace the areas in which the government is losing money, 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. One of the takeaways from here is the kind of question an investigator needs to ask in tracking IFFs and money laundering.”
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN