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ICPC Uncovers Massive Land Fraud By Civil Defense Officials
The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission, ICPC, says it has seized a total of 61 houses and 45 plots of land at different locations in the federal capital territory, FCT from a top official of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC.
Scores of other officials of the Corp are being investigated for involvement in the sale of land and property to unsuspecting members of the public in a non existing housing estate.
Chairman of the commission, Ekpo Nta, on Thursday told the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee probing alleged illegal land allocations and racketeering in the FCT, that the seizure as well as others were made in the course of an on going investigations into land scam in the city.
Nta said several bank accounts used for the illegal land deal had been traced and frozen.
Giving a breakdown of the properties seized, the ICPC boss said the houses were made up of 40 numbers of three bedroom flats, 20 numbers of two bedroom flats and a duplex.
He said official letters had been written to the appropriate government land authorities on the status of the seized properties and publication made in national dailies to alert the public of the illegal deals so that they do not fall victims.
Nta told the committee that his agency embarked on the investigation following a formal complaint from the Commandant General of the NSCDC, Ade Abolurin, on May 15, 2013 that some of the officials of the Corps were involved in selling lands illegally to unsuspecting members of the public in the name of the agency under a non-existent housing scheme.
“Impressed by the action of the Commandant General of the Corps who reported his own officials for alleged wrong doings while other heads of agencies or organisations were covering up their staff, I commenced an immediate investigation,” the ICPC boss said.
He continued: “In the course of the investigation, we established that six different Companies were used in the scam,we’ve frozen the banks’ accounts of certain officers and the Companies used and seized several property including 61 houses, 45 plots of land and a duplex traced to some of the officers; interestingly, the 61 houses made up of 40 units of three bedroom flats, 20 units of two bedroom flats and a duplex were seized from a single officer.”
Nta told the lawmakers that the ICPC will commence investigation on Danime Nigeria ltd, one of the companies used by the NSCDC officials to carry out the illegal deals, based on the new information now at its disposal.
The ICPC cleared Abolurin of any involvement in the crime, saying he was not a party to the illegal deals while also noting that he reported to the anti graft agency as soon as he got wind of it.
On whether there would be compensation for the 186 victims of the scam since the properties of the perpetrators had been seized, the ICPC boss said that decision rests with the court.
The committee chaired by Bimbo Daramola commended the ICPC boss for his submission and promised to work with the commission to get to the root of the matter.
This is coming just as the committee lashed out at the former FCT Commandant of the Corps, Rabe Saidu, now Assistant Commandant General, ACG, for claiming ignorance on all the illegal transactions that took place under his command for over two and a half years.
Saidu had claimed that he was away to Mecca when the scam blew open and that he was never queried by the leadership of the Corps but his second in Command, Isikilu Akinsanyan, countered him, saying that the ACG was actually queried on the illegal deal.