‘MANDATORY LAND REGISTRATION, ASSET DECLARATION CAN CURB MONEY LAUNDERING’
The Chairman, Board of Trustee of the Society for Professional Valuation, Mr Sola Enitan,has said mandatory land registration, assets declaration, valuation of properties of public office holders and collaboration between anti-graft agencies and professional bodies could curb money laundering and other forms of fraud in the country.
Enitan said anti-corruption agencies needed to upscale their efforts in the fight against money laundering in the country, adding that the effects of the scourge on economic growth called for concern. He stated that land registration should be mandatorily complemented with oath offices while all land consent applications and registration should be preceded by affidavit of price authenticity.
According to him, during land transaction, the buyer, seller, buying agent, selling agent and the deed draughtsman should all be made to submit affidavit that the price disclosed for registration was the authentic price and on threat of perjury, they should swear to bear the consequences.
He stated that a central online land registry that would show land ownership would also go a long way to creating greater transparency over the origins of money in the market, particularly when it included the names of real beneficiaries of the property. This, he said, would make investigations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission much easier.
He said, “More transparency about what public officials own makes it harder for them to secretly amass wealth in office through corrupt practices. At the very least, public declaration of assets before and after officials are in office should be a universal practice. “Real estate transactions are rarely between just the buyer and seller. Agents, banks and brokers play their role, and have opportunities to stop corrupt money entering the market.
“Money laundering through real estate is much harder when these professions act with integrity and are required to conduct checks on the real owner and the source of funds. They should have access to all the information they need, and should face consequences for not flagging suspicious transactions.” He said money laundering effects on the nation’s economy were enormous and should be checked.