EFCC hunt developers for N100bn housing loan scam

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has focused its attention on developers and primary mortgage banks that obtained housing loans to the tune of N100bn from the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, but misappropriated the funds.

The Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, promised the FMBN that the anti-graft agency would help the bank to recover the funds when the acting Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Richard Esin, led his team to the corporate headquarters of the EFCC in Abuja.

The EFCC said on its official Facebook page that Esin applauded Magu for his achievements in the fight against corruption.

The statement read in part, “He (Esin) said the bank had come to identify with the commission and to also plea for the assistance of the EFCC to intervene and recover about N100bn which is in the hands of developers and primary mortgage banks.

“Magu appreciated the management of the bank for the visit and assured them that the commission would do everything within its mandate to assist the bank and prevent it from going under.”

In a separate statement, Esin informed the anti-graft boss that but for the resilience of the bank, it would not have been able to meet the financial requests of Nigerians, including employees of the EFCC, because of fraudulent partner developers.

According to FMBN’s acting MD, fraudulent partner developers have a huge debt overhang with   the   bank,   explaining  that they obtained construction finance from the bank to build estates, but diverted the funds into other non-productive and non-regenerative activities.

He further stated that some developers completed the estates, sold the housing units and failed to remit the sales proceeds to the bank.

Esin said some primary mortgage banks, which obtained funds from the bank for mortgage finances for   on-lending   to   qualified   National Housing Fund contributors, failed to disburse the funds to the applicants, while others obtained equity contribution from would-be mortgagors but refused to deploy same in the provision of mortgage finances to the applicants’ benefit.

The bank MD expressed worry that despite the revocation of their operation alliances,   some of the operators of the primary mortgage banks were still   deceptively encouraging innocent and unsuspecting mortgagors to continue to repay their mortgages to them through fictitious accounts with no intention of remitting same to the FMBN.

He appealed to Magu to assist in the recovery of bank funds from contractors and vendors who were mobilised to execute various contracts for the bank, but failed to execute same and misappropriated the bank’s money.

He said, “Their activities are fraudulent, and constitute financial crimes. We, therefore, seek the EFCC’s kind assistance in the recovery of these funds which belong to the Nigerian workers.”

Speaking further, Esin informed Magu that his management was committed to helping the workers of the commission to own houses, noting that after the Memorandum of Understanding between both organisations, the FMBN had disbursed N3bn in 10 batches to 156 employees of the EFCC.

He added that N1.6bn worth of NHF loans for 113 workers of the EFCC packaged by the FGMB were awaiting board approval, while N1.3bn had been approved as NHF loans for EFCC workers, but not disbursed because the targeted houses were no longer available.

SOURCE: PUNCH NEWSPAPER

Plateau to build 11,188 housing units in 5 years

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The Plateau State government has signed a memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with six developers for the construction of 11,188 housing units in the state.
The agreement said that a time frame of five years would be used for the project, under the arrangement of Public Private Partnership.

The Commissioner for Housing and Urban Development, Arch. Samuel Galadima, said that Governor Simon Lalong gave his approval for the development of the housing estates, adding: “We earlier got 45 proposals but we found only nine to be worthy while today we are entering into agreement with six developers.”
Galadima urged the developers to deliver on time.
“The MoU will contain a clause stating that should any developer fail to meet up with our standard, the MoU will be revoked,” he said.
The Managing Director of Portal Realities Ltd, Tayo Fashogbon, who signed the MoU for 1,883 housing units, said that his company would provide two-bedroom semi-detached, two-bedroom bungalows and three bedroom bungalows within the five-year time frame.

 

By Lami Sadiq

 

High Inflation Rate Triggers Rise In Rental Default

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Rise in inflation rate to 16.5 per cent has increased the number of rental default in the property markets.

According to experts in the real estate sector, despite incessant cases of rental defaults by tenants in the property market in the last one year, the latest surge in inflation rate may double defaults in rental payments.

They also blamed slump in oil revenue, which has reduced government spending and disposable income of citizens for the inability of tenants to pay their rents.

According to report by Bismark Rewane-led Financial Derivatives Company (FDC), while stating the implications of increase in inflation rate to 16.5 per cent, individuals will face budget constraints. The study added that the situation would also reduce future demand for housing.

Rewane pointed out that the headline inflation in Nigeria had become ‘a hydra-headed problem that is defying therapy,” adding, “while it is too soon to determine the effectiveness of the recent increase in interest rates on inflation, the picture is not looking pretty.” He projected a jump in inflation to 17.4 per cent this month, which, he said, would be an 11-year high.

However, he said that Nigerians have been adjusting to the new realities, predicting that consumers were in for a very rough ride in fourth quarter of the year.

According to newsmen, over than 15 tenants under the management an estate agent in Ogba, Lagos, Mr. Jekede Toluwa, have been finding it difficult to pay their rents in the last six months.

Toluwa, who is the Principal Partner, Jetobled Properties, said that landlords of some of the houses have even asked them (tenants) to vacate their apartments.

He said that the tenants remained unconcerned since they cannot raise money for another accommodation. He blamed the situation on current economic downturn coupled with high inflation rate, pointing out that the cost of living had almost doubled in the last one year.

According to him, a bag of rice that was sold for N10,00 in January 2015, is now sold at between N20,000 and N22,000 depending on brand.

Besides, Toluwa stated that some of the tenants were also out of jobs, while high inflation rate has eroded the value of their little income.

He urged government to do something urgent to cushion the effect of current inflation rate. Another estate agent in Iyana Ipaja, Lagos, Mr. Sunday Agbabiaka, stated that, though things were tough generally, his tenants were still paying their rents as at when due.

He is of the opinion that the current inflation rate if not controlled may hamper prompt rental payment by tenants. The Vice Chairman, Lagos Chapter of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Mr. Olurogba Orimolade, said there was substantial number of rent defaulters in the market due to the current economic downturn.

 

By Dayo Ayeyemi

Lagos plans real estate transaction reform

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In order to solve the problems associated with the enforcement and management of Lagos State Tenancy Law, the state government is planning to reform the Real Estate Transaction Business in the metropolis.

Commissioner for Housing, Mr. Gbolahan Lawal, who disclosed this to journalists in Lagos, said it will be made possible by overhauling the Lagos Estate Management Information System (LAGEMIS).

He said: “At the core of the new system is the accumulation and management of valuable data relating to Real Estate Transaction[s].

“This is geared towards LAGEMIS transaction reforms, which includes a complete overhaul of its present operation, system information management, record keeping and retrieval to improve its productivity and consequently its revenue generation base.”

He also said the state was looking forward to creating a secure web-based centralised data of all estate transactions in the state, ensure codification of all government-owned estates and automate applications for allotment, approval and payment.

Justifying the essence of the reform, Lawal stressed that the new system would ease the process of doing business in the real estate value chain, enhance transparency in real estate transactions and also enhance government’s ability to collate data for key developmental projects.

It would be recalled that immediate past governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, had embarked on related initiatives including the consolidation of the land registration process and a reduction in land transaction fees in 2015 in a bid to ease the process of doing business in real estate.

 

 

FG adopts six designs for national housing scheme

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In a bid to reduce the nation’s housing deficit drastically, the Federal Government may adopt six different house designs for mass and affordable housing production in all the states of the federation. Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, said this at the ‘First City People Real Estate and Housing lecture’ in Lagos, last weekend.

He said that the designs would include one, two and three bedroom bungalows, blocks of 16 and 24 flats of one, two and three bedrooms and bungalows of one and two bedrooms.

The minister said: “I am happy to announce that we have concluded this, starting from about 21 different designs, working down to 12 and concluding on six.” Speaking on: “My Thoughts on How to Move the Housing Sector Forward,” the housing minister explained that the one, two, and three bedroom bungalow designs came with court yards in order to make them respond to the climate change and cultural leanings of the north. He added that they would be built in states in the north east, north west and north central parts of Nigeria.

According to him, blocks of flats of one, two and three bedrooms and bungalows of one and two bedrooms will be built in the south-south, southeast and south-west regions and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“These are broad classifications without details of special adaptations to be made in some states, based on our research and the experience of our diverse team of architects in the ministry who come from all parts of Nigeria,” he said. Varieties in house design, reporters gathered, is aimed at enhancing acceptability and home ownership among citizens unlike Shagari Housing initiative of 1980.

The model, experts said, did not enjoy wide acceptability due to failure to incorporate enough diversity to reflect different weather and cultural differences in the country.

According to Fashola, the current house designs will not contemplate those who want duplexes or bigger houses, but those who are in the majority and who are the most vulnerable.

“These include the firsttime home owners, who do not earn large incomes, in the civil service, junior workers in private companies, young families where husband and wife can pool their incomes together to qualify; artisans, drivers, market men and women, whose income bracket falls within grade levels 9–15 in the public service,” he said. The minister went down memory lane, blaming lack of sustainability for housing initiatives rolled out in the past.

These include the Lateef Jakande housing scheme, which was localised to Lagos and Shehu Shagari initiative which was national. “Having proffered a pathway to acceptability and end-user identity, the next step to sustainability is mass production,” the minister said.

He emphasised that Federal Government’s plan for sustainable housing supply would centre on standardisation of house designs and industrialise production, by regulating fittings such as doors, windows, roofing sheets, tiles and other components.

 

By Dayo Ayeyemi

As Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company Plc host the 32nd African Union for Housing Finance Conference

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NMRC

 

The rapid proliferation and sustained urbanisation of Africa has put enormous pressure on actualizing the continent’s quest for affordable housing and a daunting challenge for its economic and environmental growth.

Africa remains the most ruralized continent in the world, with only four out of every ten Africans living in an urban area. However, this stat won’t be the case for very long. The UN Habitat report of 2011 stated that rural-urban migration is at forty thousand personsper day and poised to increase as Africa’s growth has concentrated mainly in major cities. Recent growth in major African cities has been phenomenal: Between 2005 and 2010 Lagos grew by 1.8 million people, Kinshasa by 1.6 million and Luanda by 1.2 million. In terms of proportional growth, Abuja doubled in size (51.7 per cent), Ouagadougou grew by 43.7 per cent, and Luanda by 35.0 per cent in the same five-year period.

At the 32ndconference of the Africa Union for Housing Finance (AUHF) and AGM themed, ‘HOUSING AND AFRICA’S GROWTH AGENDA’, stakeholders across the continent will converge in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria to forge a solution to Africa’s housing nightmare and seek to exploit the enormous investment opportunities this presents as well as ways to stimulate Africa’s economic growth and development.

 

The AUHF is an association of 52 mortgage banks, building societies, microfinance institutions, housing corporations and other organisations involved in the mobilisation of funds for shelter and housing on the African continent, charged with an explicit mandate to support the growth of Africa’s housing finance sector.

 

AUHF’s annual conference is held each year in a different member country to coincide with its annual general meeting. This year the conference will take place in Abuja, Nigeria and will be hosted by the Nigeria Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) between 14th -16th of September 2016.

Topics that will be covered at the conference include:

  • Public private partnerships to enable growth in affordable housing delivery
  • Growing Africa’s mortgage markets
  • Harnessing opportunities on the demand side
  • Growing the capacity of housing microfinance
  • Priming the housing sector to foster greater growth

 

Nigeria’s Honorable Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Minister BabatundeRajiFashola, will deliver the first keynote address.  Mr Habib Hann, Senior Housing Finance Specialist for Sub-Saharan Africa at the International Finance Corporation will deliver the second keynote address,The event will be attended by Governors of Ogun, Kano, Kaduna, Anambra, Delta, Cross River and Rivers States in Nigeria. The Nigeria Minister for Finance, Kemi Adeosun will be the Special Guest of Honour.

 

Scaling up affordable housing provision has the potential to stimulate national economies, create jobs, improve the construction industry, and improve the living conditions for the health and wellbeing of all Africans. Beyond words, actionable plans must be developed by stakeholders at the conference and African leaders must have the political will to implement the interventions prescribed by the conference.  African governments must be more than enablers and ways must be developed to hold the continent’s leaders accountable to the decisions of the Conference.This is the hope of the common man as all eyes are set on the 32nd Conference and AGM of the AUHF.

 

 

 

Abdulsalami Lauds Nnewi Industrialists Contributions to Economy

 

okafor

 

Former Military President, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar has said the industry exhibited by Nnewi businessmen will help revive the economy of Nigeria.

Abubakar, who was in Nnewi for the unveiling of Nnewi Hotels and Events Centre built by Dr. Benjamin Aghazu, stated that no nation can live solely on the importation of products consumed by its citizens.

The ex-head of state who toured some factories in the city, including Chikason Group, Ibeto Group, Capital Oil and Gas, Tummy Noddles and a number of others said he was happy with what they were doing, while calling for support for them from the federal government.

At Chikason Group, Abuabakar was showed round the five factories that make up the group, while some of its products; engine oil, toiletries, and several others were also inspected.

Chairman of the group, Chief Chika Okafor, who also spoke with journalists lamented that lack of foreign exchange, power generation are some of the teething problems facing the survival of industries in Nigeria.

“Government should show support to us here in Nnewi. This is the only town that has grown to what it is today with 99 per cent contribution from indigenes, and almost nothing from government. We face several challenges every day, but the most pressing ones are power and foreign exchange for the procurement of raw materials. We run 175,000 litres of diesel every week here.
“We are managing to sustain the factory from what we make from other businesses. We have a mining arm, agriculture, real estate and we are also into oil and gas.”

Okafor stated that at the last management meeting of the group, it found out that because of less output as a result of unavailability of raw material as occasioned by lack of foreign exchange to buy raw material, there was need to retrench a huge number of staff members. “But if retrench them, where will they go from here?” he asked rhetorically.

He called on the federal government to come to the aid of industrialists through the provision of foreign exchange and to tackle the perennial problem of power in the country.

24 states ready to collaborate with FG on mass housing

Minister of Works, Power and Housing Babatunde Fashola

Minister of Works, Power and Housing Babatunde Fashola

 

Mr Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, on Friday disclosed that 24 states had volunteered land to the Federal Government to begin its mass housing initiative.

Fashola made the disclosure in Lagos at the maiden edition of Real Estate and Housing Lecture organised by City People Magazine.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the lecture was entitled: “Moving the Real Estate Sector Forward, My Thought, My Experience.’’

“Twenty four states have given us the land that we require to start,’’ he said.

He said that policy framework for standards; capacity and knowledge of developers and purchasing power of home seekers were integral to solving housing deficit in Nigeria.

Fashola identified mortgage financing and government support through incentives as also integral to providing affordable housing to the teeming population of Nigerians.

He added that the 2016 budget provided some incentives.

He said that there was a provision of N35 billion for housing in the 2016 budget and that the government had both long and short term plans on how to execute the project.

He said that government was testing the workability of mass housing initiative and if found effective, hopefully, more funds would be allocated in the 2017 budget.

“Our objective is to use this year’s budget, that N35 billion to prove the efficacy of this concept in the short term, and this concept can work,’’ he said.

The minister explained that nations like the United Kingdom and Singapore achieved success in real estate development with the support of government and the mortgage institutions.

He advised developers to revisit the idea of private hostels; an initiative he said was adopted by religious organisations in the past.

While answering questions raised by some stakeholders, the minister assured that the government would not compromise on the quality of houses it would deliver.

“We cannot and we will not compromise quality,’’ he said.

Fashola stressed the need for more Nigerians to key into home ownership.

He added that, the same spread of funds people use to pay rents of two years or more could be channeled to home ownership through mortgage financing.

Also present at the ceremony are Sen. Gbenga Ashafa and Mr Francisco Abosede, a former Lagos Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development.

 

SOURCE: Guardian

Taxing Abuja property owners

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Nigerian political office holders and their fronts with access to free state funds have come to be associated with irrational acquisition of properties they hardly inhabit, in and outside the country. “A large number of mansions in the most exclusive areas of London are owned by Nigerians”, the bemused British media once declared. As if to corroborate this claim, Kolapo Olapoju in a recent write up claimed ‘Google Earth virtual tour revealed that two Nigerians, James Ibori and Cecelia Ibru were among the world’s ‘six most notorious for acquiring valuable properties with stolen funds and corrupt means’. They are in ignoble league of Muammar Gaddafi, Mobutu Sese Seko, Imelda Marcos, and Teodorin Obiang, the son of President Obiang of Equatorial Guinea.

It is hard to controvert such claim when one for instance is confronted with the fact that an incredible 103 properties in the United States, Nigeria, South Africa, Dubai and London were in 2009 seized from Cecilia Ibru, the former Managing Director of Oceanic Bank PLC who was also sentenced to six months in prison for fraud and ordered to hand over $1.2 billion in cash and assets; or when James Ibori, described by his London Prosecutor, Sasha Wass as “a thief in government house”, was credited with a fleet of cars such as armoured Range Rovers costing £600,000, £120,000 Bentley, £300,000 Mercedes Benz and  six properties in London, including a six-bedroom house with indoor pool in Hampstead at a cost of £2.2million and a flat opposite the nearby Abbey Road recording studios.

And while we raged against David Cameron for describing our nation as ‘a fantastically corrupt country’, we were confronted with a UK Daily Mail’s publication of mansions owned by Nigerians in London which it described as “palaces of corruption”.  This was followed by the report of Global Coalition Against Corruption that claimed “about 57 other Nigerians including   Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, Joshua Dariye, the late Abubakar Audu, Chimaroke Nnamani, Lucky Igbinedion, Diezani Alison-Madueke and  13 ex-governors on trial for financial crimes, some former ministers either on trial or under investigation, some indicted top bankers’ may forfeit  their foreign assets”.

Back home, EFCC in January this year announced the seizure of N10b properties owned by Alex Badeh just as it claimed it traced another $2.8m properties owned by his daughter to the US. In June, EFCC announced the seizure of 29 properties including an N980m shopping plaza, a N450m residential mansion, a N710m executive mansion and anotherN720m four-unit terrace in choice areas of Abuja from three ex-Air Force chiefs – Air Marshal Adesola Amosu; Air vice Marshal Jacob Adigun (retd.); and Air Commodore Olugbenga Gbadebo (retd.). EFCC followed with the announcement of the seizure of Fayose’s N1.35bn properties made up of four duplexes on Victoria Island in Lagos State and Maitama, Abuja.  This was soon followed by EFCC’s seizure of four houses worth N872 million from a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Sen. Bala Mohammed, and three duplexes costing about N222 million in the Apo Area of Abuja from Shamsudeen Bala, his son.

Although not a few Nigerians are outraged by EFCC scandalous revelations, they  nonetheless merely exemplify the depth of rot in Abuja where there is hardly any minister, governor  or a lawmaker who served between 1999 and 2016 who do not own a mansion, an hotel, an estate, a shopping plaza or a farm. We may therefore not in all conscience say that those EFCC has fingered are any more guilty than ministers and lawmakers who deployed  proceeds of budget padding or unimplemented constituency projects towards acquisition of choice properties in Abuja .

Although because of the slow pace at which the wheel of justice grinds in our nation, (apology to ex President Jonathan) and since in the name of democracy, the law crafted by the political elite does not allow us question the source of new found wealth of political office holders who yesterday could only afford a modest bungalow after a life long struggle or those who had nothing before becoming lawmakers in their thirties, but within four years tour of duty became transformed into proud owners of multibillion Abuja mansions, I don’t think government is totally helpless.

Here again, APC government is not being called upon to invent the wheel. All they have to do is borrow a leaf from the enlightened British political elite from whom we copied the liberal democratic process. Precisely because they understand that the well-being of the poor and the disadvantaged is the only safeguard for the safety of the leisured class who have taken more than their proportionate share of their nation’s resources, properties owned by the latter (including mansions bought by Nigerians with stolen funds) are heavily taxed. The tax returns are thereafter channeled into building of Council flats for low income earners in all the counties. The Local Council officials collect rent with which the council flats are maintained. And where some cannot afford the heavily subsidised rents in the council flats, government come to their aid and even provide food to ensure no one is without roof over his head or go to bed without food. They know this is the only way the rich can live in peace.

With the rejection of the above tested path by an unenlightened Nigerian political elite  headed by Obasanjo, Jonathan and their greedy lawmakers who preferred to confiscate land and properties they held in trust for the poor between 1999 and 2015, what is expected of government of change is a new beginning, starting with the path never taken. It was for this reason Nigerians voted for change. Nigerians are opposed to lawmakers expending taxpayers’ money of SUV toys. Nigerians who saw the immediate past British Prime Minister, David Cameron drive out of 10 Downing Street after six years in office in his small personal car with his family are not asking for too much. But what they got in contrast under a government of change is a lawmaker Abdulmumin Jibrin, 39 who came out of thirty something million naira SUV Landcruiser and walked with a swagger to Abuja EFCC’s office to lodge complaints about alleged budget padding by 13 of his colleagues.

Nigerians expect Buhari and APC to set a new tone. The mood of Nigerians after 16 years of Obasanjo and his PDP profligacy is that lawmakers who cannot ride assembled in Nigeria Peugeot vehicle as official cars should trek. Nigerians who voted for change expect cash-strapped Buhari and his APC government to take the census of property owners in Maitama and Asokoro areas of Abuja for the purpose of taxing the idle parasitic owners in order to bring relief to thousands without homes in Abuja without whose contributions the city decays. And finally the mood of Nigerians who voted for change is for APC government to copy the prevailing law of inheritance in a welfare state like Britain that allows imposition of taxes or outright confiscation of properties of idle children of fraudulent fathers who in their twenties and without visible source of income inhabit N300m mansions in Abuja.

I think beyond blackmail, Buhari and APC have nothing to fear. If the push comes to shove, politicians who have defrauded their states as governors, the nation through budget padding which dates back to 1999 or their constituencies through unexecuted projects may be asked to explain the sources for the funding of their multi-billion Abuja properties.

 

By Jide Oluwajuyitan