The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had alerted the general public to the activities of some dishonest estate developers in the Federal Capital Territory, who are in the habit of defrauding aspiring home owners through bogus offers.
The Commission said it felt the need to issue the alert because in recent weeks, it has recorded an upsurge in the number of reported cases of individuals who have been duped.
According to a statement released by the EFCC, the unscrupulous estate developers secure land allocation from the government, and then create gorgeous computer-assisted designs of prototype estates which they now advertise to prospective home owners to subscribe for at very attractive prices.
Their main targets are the low and middle income earners who cannot afford outright cash purchase of property in the city and therefore opt for options of instalments.
But as soon as they make commitment through payment of the initial deposits, they are inundated with various excuses as explanation for the developers’ inability to deliver the properties.
The EFCC said often times when the victims seek legal respite, they discover to their chagrin that recovering their money is near impossible as the titles to such properties would have long been mortgaged as collateral for loan facilities from some financial institutions by the developers.
“It is important that stakeholders in the real estate sector, as well as the regulatory agencies such as the Nigerian Society of Estate Surveyors and Valuers come together to review and firm up the regulatory framework for property development in the FCT to check the activities of unscrupulous private developers,” the statement said.
It also urged intending home owners to ascertain the credibility and capacity of developers before subscribing to their offers, saying on its part, the EFCC would continue the aggressive investigation and prosecution of all land-related cases.