Written by Austine ELEMUE

Mass housing: FG moves to recover lost revenue, check fraud

Mass Housing developers in the Federal Capital Territory who fail to comply with the statutory requirements for their development or default in payments, would soon face the long arm of the law. 

The chairman, Special Presidential Investigation Panel for Recovery of Public Property. Okoi Obono-Obla, gave this indication, last week, when he paid a working visit to the FCT Administration. 

The chairman revealed that the action was sequel to intelligence reports and petitions received by the panel from concerned stakeholders. 

According to him, out of the over 300 beneficiaries of mass housing land in the FCT, only 64 developers have completed and signed lease agreement, while 79 percent have failed to comply with statutory requirements and payments. 

He said the total fees collected so far, amounting to N1, 086,750,000 billion, falls short of what should have been realized by the FCT Administration. 

The chairman expressed concern over reports of fraudulent leasing of land for mass housing development by initial beneficiaries as well as cases of non-payment of rates and fees amounting to billions of naira. 

Also to come under scrutiny are reports of civil servants who were alleged to be complicit in these fraudulent deals that robbed government of billions of naira. 

He explained that the panel was constituted in August 2017 by the federal government, pursuant to the Recovery of Public Property (Special Provisions) Act, CAP R4, LFN, 2004, with a mandate to investigate the assets of private persons and public officers perceived to have engaged in corrupt practices, or in any way breached the provision of the Code of Conduct. 

Part of the recovery activities, he said, will require the lease beneficiaries to appear before the panel at a meeting place agreed by the FCT Administration. 

 

Responding, the FCT minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, stressed that it was good that the panel has zeroed on land administration and by extension, mass housing, with respect to investigating what has gone wrong as well as moving to recover revenues that have been lost or under collected. 

He also said the FCT Administration will help to fast track the work of the panel by making available the FCDA conference hall because it is contiguous with all the relevant FCT departments and has all the facilities and ambience that will make the work of the committee much easier. 

Bello added that funding for the FCTA has shrunk over the years as the territory continues to mature, adding that every agency of government is supposed to budget and plan for its requirement, hence the need to go after every kobo that is due to the administration.    

 

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