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EFCC Seals First Group Office In Abuja Over Alleged $200 Billion Scam

Posted by Karen White on 07/15/2016 09:38:27 AM |

EFCC Seals First Group Office In Abuja Over Alleged $200 Billion Scam

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday sealed a Dubai real estate firm, The First Group, over a phony $200 billion deals.

Several documents, including a list of high profile patrons, were recovered from the premises.

The anti-graft agency is screening the list.

A prominent Nigerian may have lost about $402,000 (N136.6 million).

This is the second in some of the deals, it was learnt time since May the EFCC has raided the firm, which is allegedly involved in assisting politicians to launder money in the United Arab Emirates(UAE).

EFCC operatives shut down the company’s office on the seventh floor at the Bank of Industry building in the Central Business District, Abuja.

A source said: “This is the second time our team will go to the company for investigation following intelligence report. We had initially arrested two staff of the Dubai-based firm.

“The company is implicated in a phony real estate scam in which innocent Nigerians were duped $200 billion.

“Investigation into the scam showed that the company, originally known as TFG Real Estate Limited, operates in Nigeria in the guise of being The First Group, a Dubai-based real estate firm, which is not registered in Nigeria.

“The modus operandi of the company is to lure Nigerians interested in owning property in Dubai into parting with their money. They are mandated to make the payments in instalments.

“However, the payment process is deliberately structured in such a way that the debt is difficult to offset, and as soon as one defaults, the money will be “seized” by the company.”

Another source said: “We are probing clues on how some political office holders used some officials of the company to launder looted funds.

“The scope of investigation is wider. In fact, some of the foreign staff of the company have relocated from the country to evade arrest. But we will get them wherever they are.”

Those under searchlight in Dubai for stashing funds or acquiring property in Dubai are seven ex-governors, six former ministers, a former presidential aide implicated in the $2.1 billion arms deal, ex-military chiefs under probe, agents/ front of some of these public officers and about five chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

A Federal Government team, comprising the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami; EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu and crack detectives from the anti-graft agency, have met with their UAE counterparts to collate intelligence on the PEPs.

A senior management staff of TFG, simply called Machenry, said: “The EFCC did not tell you the truth. We did not defraud anybody or group. We do legitimate property business in Dubai.

“What happened is that some of these subscribers will go into an obligation to pay for properties within a three to four-year frame but midway they will say they want to terminate the contract in order to launder money. But on our part, we have been sticking to the rules that funds paid are not refundable even if you cannot meet up with terms of payment.

“Some of them apply to buy property in order to launder money but we have refused to be used. We always insist that they either get their properties or forget cash refund. They are always uncomfortable with our strictness to terms of purchase.

“These people who are closer to the powers that be are the ones trying to use EFCC against us. They failed to meet up with the laid down terms for buying properties in the UAE and they want to make U-turn on the non- refundable clause.

“This is purely a civil matter. Why can’t they go to court instead of running to the EFCC. The agreement on property purchase with our group is explicit.”

On whether the company had been fronting for political office holders, the source added: “I don’t know what you mean by that. I am aware that we conduct due diligence before engaging any individual or group in property business. We believe in business fidelity.”

Asked if the firm sold two mansions to the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Yusuf Buratai and his wives, Machenry said: “We did not sell the properties to them. They are not on our list.”




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