An Anti-corruption campaigner has discovered 10 multimillion properties located in the United Kingdom, owned by high-class Nigerians, two of which are top lawmakers.
The video clip by the group who are identified as ClampK, trended on social media and was reported by international media organisations such as British Broadcasting Corporation, Aljazeera and Agence France Presse.
This new revelation has again put Nigeria in a bad light, as the high level of corruption by the top government officials has led to the investigations of the accumulated wealth of these people, some of which are detained in UK for probing, the likes of former minister of petroleum, Mrs Allison Madueke, who is under investigations for corruption.
Mr Debo Adeniran, the Executive Chairman for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and other anti-graft agencies to open investigations into the owners of the properties and prosecute them if found guilty
The cost of the seven properties is £15,785,000 (approximately N6,345, 570,000 using the Central Bank of Nigeria’s official rate of N402), while the costs of the properties can be broken down as: £5,650,000; £4,250,000; £2, 900,000; £850,000; £830,000; £820,000 and £485,000.
Investigations also revealed that the properties were acquired by proxy, which the anti-corruption campaigners believe was done to hide the identities of the owners.
One of the choice properties linked to an APC chieftain cost £4,250,000 (apart from other rents that had been paid on the grant of the lease).
Another property belonging to one of the powerful Nigerians had cost £5,650,000 when it was paid for on October 4, 2011, according to the records of HM Land Registry, Croydon.
The leaseholders were identified as Renocon Property Development Limited and Sandon Developments Limited.
Documents from the HM Land Registry, Croydon, also revealed that a choice property was acquired by a firm on behalf of a former military Head of State.
Further information made available by the land registry revealed that a property linked to one of the powerful Nigerians was registered with a company’s name as the owner.
Similarly, findings from the HM Land Registry, Birkenhead office, UK, revealed that a property at Kensington West Blythe Road, was linked to one of the powerful Nigerians.
One of the anti-graft campaigners on the tour organised by ClampK, Rachel Davies of Transparency International, had described the UK as a ground that had been harbouring misused public funds, saying there were 40,000 land titles in London owned by companies based in many jurisdictions.
According to her, that meant “that when they bought the properties, the owners didn’t need to have a land registry to reveal who they really were and so the land registry, the police, and the local residents do not know who they are.”
A similar tour organised earlier had focused on politically-exposed Russians. According to AFP, “the tours are organised by an anti-corruption campaigner, Roman Borisovich, who is a specialist in exposing shady Russian money, and are held every few months.”
It stated that Borisovich had set up the tours “to attract public attention to the enormous proportions of money laundering that is being washed through UK properties.”
He told AFP he had chosen Nigeria for the latest tour as it was “the only country that is openly asking the British government to repatriate the proceeds of crime, which were stolen from the country.”
Mr Deborah Adeniran had said, “The revelation is a manifestation of how greedy our politicians are. It’s a confirmation that our politicians go into the system to syphon public funds. Many of them have been doing it right from time. They launder the country’s funds and use them to buy posh properties abroad.
“This situation has been persistent because of the lack of commitment by our anti-graft agencies to investigate and prosecute corrupt politicians using public funds to buy choice properties abroad. If not, we didn’t have to wait for foreign investigators to do the job for us.
“Be that as it may, all the agencies, from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission and even the Central Bank of Nigeria, should swing into action immediately and investigate those who own the properties and prosecute them if found guilty of corruption.
“For an administration whose motto is ‘fighting corruption,’ seeing that the proxies who illegally acquired properties for public office holders are also prosecuted should be a priority. The government should ensure that every sinner shouldn’t go unpunished.”
Also, the Executive Director, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, Adetokunbo Mumuni, said the fact that the said persons did the transaction or acquisition clandestinely showed that they had things to hide. He said the EFCC should waste no time in investigating the matter.
He said, “If you don’t have the gut to buy a property in your name and you are using proxies, that means you have something serious to hide and once there is a reason to believe that a crime has been committed, the appropriate criminal investigation agencies, like EFCC, must take it up.”
He added that Nigeria must stop relying on foreign help to solve all its problems, adding that “We must be ready to do something serious about our matters ourselves and that is why agencies like EFCC should take it up.”
The President Muhammad Buhari Administration has clamped down on corrupt public officers, recovering billions of stolen public funds; the establishment of the whistle-blowing policy