The Lagos State Real Estate Regulatory Authority (LASRERA) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have announced a groundbreaking collaboration aimed at curbing real estate fraudulent practices in the sector.

The partnership between LASRERA and EFCC was facilitated during a courtesy visit on Wednesday by the Special Adviser to Lagos State Governor on Housing, Barr. 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.

According to the Special Adviser, the partnership comes as a response to the growing concerns surrounding real estate fraud in Nigeria, revealing 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.

She said that LASRERA and EFCC will work closely to investigate and prosecute individuals and organizations involved in fraudulent practices such as impersonation, property flipping, and document forgery.

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.

Speaking further, Odunuga-Bakare highlighted the importance of the collaboration between the two government agencies in safeguarding the interests of both investors and the general public.

“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,” the Special Adviser added.

She 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.

Speaking during the visit, the Zonal Commander, EFCC Lagos Zonal Command, who is also an Assistant Commander of the EFCC1, Michael .T. Wetkas described the visit as a good move that will further assist the Commission in investigating corrupt cases around real estate transactions.

While saying that real estate investment-related issues constitute a major part of complaints received by the Commission in recent times, the Zonal Commander
maintained that the partnership between LASRERA and the EFCC will rekindle investors’ confidence in the Lagos’ real estate sector.

He said 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 will be protected.

It should be noted that while LASRERA is a government agency established to regulate and promote the real estate industry in Lagos State by protecting the interests of both buyers and sellers through professionalism, transparency, and integrity, the EFCC is Nigeria’s leading agency in the fight against economic and financial crimes with a mandate to investigate, prosecute, and prevent financial crimes.

Adeoti Sobowale
Deputy Director, Public Affairs.
11th January, 2024.

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