FG panel uncovers land fraud, move to recover funds

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The Special Presidential Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property (SPIP) said it has uncovered fraudulent practices in land allocation in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The panel said the Federal Government has lost huge funds to the fraudulent practices where parcels of land are allocated for mass housing projects without the necessary payments made.

SPIP stated that  findings by its investigative team revealed that, as at June this year, over 300 parcels of land were allocated for mass housing projects, but that 79 per cent of the beneficiaries “have not complied with statutory requirements and payments.”

Okoi Obono-Obla, SPIP Chairman,  disclosed these during a visit to the Minister of the FCT, where he sought the Minister’s support for his panel’s planned public hearing on the issue.

Obono-Obla said: “It may interest you to know that the panel is here to discuss issues concerning fraudulent leasing of land for mass housing development resulting in the non-payment of rates and fees amounting to billions of naira.

“The panel, in the course of discharging its mandate, received intelligence on fraudulent leasing of land for mass housing development which has resulted in non-payment of rates and fees amounting to billions of naira.” he stated.

“Analysis of documents collected and collated in the course of investigation activities revealed as follows: As at June, 2018 over 300 mass housing lands were leased to developers.” Obono-Obla said.

“Only 252 developers leased mass housing lands have reported and documented with the Department of Mass Housing. Only 71 sites have been inspected.” he said.

“Only 64 developers have completed and signed lease agreements. 79% of the developers that benefited from Mass Housing Land leases have not complied with statutory requirements and payments.” the SPIP Chairman said.

“From 2010 to June, 2018, the total fees collected amounted to N1, 086, 750, 000 only. This falls far short of the amount that ought to have been realised by the FCT.” he said

“Moving forward and in consonance with the Recovery of Public Property (Special Provisions) Act, 2004, the non-compliance of the beneficiaries of mass housing leases to statutory requirement is an act of economic adversity.” the SPIP Chairman added.

“Therefore there is the need to recover the outstanding public funds,” Obono-Obla concluded.

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