Thursday, 14 July 2016

EFCC seals off estate firm for over $200bn scam - New Telegraph Report

Source, who spoke in confidence with New Telegraph, said Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), yesterday, seals off estate firm for over $200bn scam.
A highly placed source at the anti-graft agency, who spoke with New Telegraph, said the estate firm, which is located on the 7th Floor of the Bank of Industry (BoI) building in the Central Business District of Abuja, was sealed off for allegedly duping the public of $200 billion. New Telegraph further gathered that operatives of the commission had, sometime in May, raided the office in continuation of investigations into the alleged fraud.

The source, who spoke in confidence with New Telegraph, said the operatives had, sometime in May, raided the office, noting that several implicating documents, which revealed names of high profile patrons, were recovered.According to the source, who spoke in confidence, the company, which was originally known as TGF Real Estate Limited, operates in the country in the guise of The First Group company, a Dubai-based real estate firm, which the commission said was not registered in Nigeria.

The source said: “The EFCC on July 13 sealed off the office of The First Group company, a real estate firm, located on the seventh-floor at the Bank of Industry building in the Central Business District, Abuja. “The company is implicated in a phony real estate scam in which innocent Nigerians were duped to the tune of $200 billion. Operatives of the EFCC had, in May 2016, raided the office as part of investigations into the alleged property fraud. Several implicating documents were discovered, including a list of high profile patrons.

“Investigations into the scam revealed that the company, originally known as TFG Real Estate Limited, operates in Nigeria in the guise of being The First Group Company,a Dubai-based real estate firm, which is not registered in Nigeria. “The modus operandi of the company is to lure innocent Nigerians interested in owning properties in Dubai, into parting with their hard-earned money.

They are mandated to make the payments in installments; however, the payment is deliberately structured in such a way that the debt is difficult to offset, and as soon as one defaults, the money will be “seized” by the company.” The company operates in some of the nation’s airports and big shopping malls.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government is under pressure to clear the air on the discovery of two properties in Dubai, owned by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai. New Telegraph gathered that the pressure was coming from groups and individuals, who have continued to express worry that since reports of the Dubai property surfaced, neither the Presidency nor the EFCC, has made any official comment on the matter.

New Telegraph learnt that the EFCC was closing-in on a former Southern governor, who has been under investigation for sundry corruption allegations, including the alleged ownership of houses in Dubai.

It will be recalled that an online newspaper had reported some weeks ago, that the COAS and his wives own a property in Dubai, which it alleged, was paid for in a single transaction. It was further alleged in the said report that Buratai carried out the transaction at a time he was the Director of Procurement at the Army Headquarters (AHQ), Abuja.

While admitting ownership of two properties in Dubai, the Nigerian Army had, however, clarified that the houses were bought through personal savings in 2013. The Army had also denied that Buratai was Director of Procurement, even as it noted that he had declared his assets twice; as Commander, Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), and as the current COAS.

“The allegations contained in the write up are baseless and not correct. It is a fact that the Buratai family has two properties in Dubai that were paid for instalmentally through personal savings three years ago. “This, along with other personal assets, have consistently been declared by General Buratai in his Assets Declaration Form as Commander Multinational Joint Task Force Commander and as Chief of Army Staff…”

While this lasted, an online portal that disseminates information on security matters, had reported that an investigative team had cleared the COAS of any wrongdoing. However, a highly placed source told New Telegraph, that the Federal Government was under pressure to clear the air on the issue. “I think the government is under immense pressure to speak officially on this matter, considering the transparent and upright nature of President Muhammadu Buhari.

“It is likely that it will clear the air soon on the development. It will not hesitate to tell Nigerians if Buratai has been cleared, or if investigations are ongoing,” the source said. Also, New Telegraph has learnt that the EFCC was closing-in on a former governor in one of the Southern states, who is alleged, to own over some houses in Dubai. A source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said: “EFCC is seriously investigating my boss, and I can say that confidently.

“They have even extended their probe to some close allies, including my humble self. In fact, my bank account officer called to inform me that operatives were subjecting my account to scrutiny.” It was learnt that the anti-graft agency has been scrutinising accounts of the wife of the former governor, his aides and business associates.