Punch||The fight against corruption at all levels of government may not be yielding positive results as politicians are increasingly using property acquisition and investment in the hospitality business to launder the money they are making.
Investigations by our correspondent revealed that the politicians, who hitherto preferred to put their money in the capital market and foreign bank accounts, have now opened their eyes to property acquisition in choice areas in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano, among others.
Although it was gathered that a number of politicians still keep their money abroad, a large percentage of them now prefer to invest in property because of its easy conversion to liquid cash and also because it serves as a hedge against inflation.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission said during the week that it had uncovered money laundering schemes in the Federal Capital Territory in which the perpetrators disguised the proceeds of crime by investing in properties.
The Chairman, EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, said over 270 cases of land scams were reported to the commission in the last three years.
Various sources told our correspondent many politicians had bought properties not in their names, but in the names of family members, protégés, loyalists and shadow business outfits.
“Buying properties is the best form of tying money down now. The demand is always there for properties and it does not involve the risk of travelling with cash to another country. For instance, a lot of politicians will put up their houses for sale this year so as to be relevant in their parties ahead of the 2015 elections,” a source explained.