Luqmon Balogun, Lagos
The Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority LASRERA has collaborated with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC to curb fraudulent practices in the real estate sector.
The partnership was facilitated during a courtesy visit by the Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor on Housing, Barakat Odunuga-Bakare who led the management team of the agency to discuss several issues of fraud emanating from real estate transactions in the State.
Odunuga-Bakare said that going forward, LASRERA and EFCC would work closely to investigate and prosecute individuals and organizations involved in fraudulent practices such as impersonation, property flipping, and document forgery.
According to her, the partnership comes as a response to the growing concerns surrounding real estate fraud in Nigeria, stressing that the joint forces of the two organizations are needed to further enhance the regulations and enforcement of ethical standards within the real estate industry by ensuring a secure and transparent environment for both buyers and sellers.
By leveraging their respective expertise and resources, the Special Adviser informed that LASRERA and EFCC will strengthen the legal framework and enforcement mechanisms to tackle real estate fraud effectively.
She said “Real estate fraud not only undermines the integrity of the sector but also poses significant financial risks to individuals and the economy as a whole. By teaming up with EFCC, we are sending a strong message that such practices will not be tolerated, and perpetrators will be held accountable.
“The EFCC, known for its expertise in investigating financial crimes, will bring its extensive knowledge and experience to this collaboration. The agency’s mandate aligns perfectly with LASRERA’s mission to regulate and promote ethical practices in the real estate industry.”
She however implored the Lagos Zonal Command of the EFCC to ensure that the registration status of any individual or organization being interrogated by the Commission for real estate-related fraud is ascertained through the registration portal of LASRERA to know if the person or organization is genuine or not.
The Zonal Commander, EFCC Lagos Zonal Command, who is also an Assistant Commander of the EFCC, Mr. Michael Wetkas described the visit as a good move that will further assist the Commission in investigating corrupt cases around real estate transactions.
While emphasising that real estate investment-related issues constitute a major part of complaints received by the Commission in recent times, Wetkas maintained that the partnership between LASRERA and the EFCC will rekindle investors’ confidence in the Lagos’ real estate sector.
He added that the collaborative effort is expected to have a far-reaching impact on the real estate sector, restoring confidence and trust among stakeholders, just as he urged the public to report any suspicious activities related to real estate transactions appropriately, assuring them that their identities would be protected.
LASRERA is a Lagos State government agency established to regulate and promote the real estate industry by protecting the interests of both buyers and sellers through professionalism, transparency, and integrity and the collaboration with the EFCC, a Nigeria’s leading agency in the fight against economic and financial crimes will go along way to sanitise the real estate sector.