Chairman of the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for Recovery of Public Property, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla has sounded a warning to Mass Housing developers in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to comply with the statutory requirements for their development or lose possession of their lands.
The chairman, who paid a working visit to the FCT Administration today, Thursday, said that intelligence reports and petitions received by the Panel from concerned stakeholders showed that out of the over 300 beneficiaries of mass housing land in the FCT, only 64 developers have completed and signed lease agreement, while 79 percent have failed to comply with statutory requirements and payments.
He said that the total fees collected so far, which amounted to N1, 086,750,000, fell short of what should have been realized by the FCT Administration.
Okoi Obono-Obla expressed concern over reports of fraudulent leasing of land for mass housing development by initial beneficiaries as well as cases of non-payment of rates and fees amounting to billions of Naira.
He said that the report indicated civil servants are complicit in these fraudulent deals that robbed government of billions of naira.
According, the panel was constituted in August 2017 by the Federal Government of Nigeria, pursuant to the Recovery of Public Property (Special Provisions) Act, CAP R4, LFN, 2004, with a mandate to investigate the assets of private persons and public officers perceived to have engaged in corrupt practices, or in anyway breached the provision of the Code of Conduct.
Obono-Obla said the panel is ready to collaborate with the FCT Administration to recover public funds from the developers who have by their acts of non-compliance to extant regulations and statutory requirements, committed acts of economic adversity. He also indicated the readiness of the panel to expose civil servants who may have possibly collaborated with developers to violate extant rules and procedures.
Part of the recovery activities, he said, will require the lease beneficiaries to appear before the panel at a meeting place agreed with the FCT Administration.
Responding the Minister of the FCT, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, said that it was good that the panel has zeroed on land administration and by extension, mass housing, with respect to investigating what has gone wrong as well as moving to recover revenues that have been lost or under collected.
The Minister said that FCTA needs every kobo that is due to it, whether uncollected or collected but not remitted, to make funds available for infrastructure development of the FCT, in line with the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said that the FCT Administration will help to fast track the work of the panel by making available the FCDA Conference hall because it is contiguous with all the relevant FCT departments and has all the facilities and ambience that will make the work of the Committee much easier.
The FCT Minister, underscored the critical place of infrastructure in the development of any modern city, sayings, “In line with the focus of Mr. President and indeed his instruction, we have concentrated in trying to complete major infrastructural projects. The key to Nigeria’s economic development is infrastructure and infrastructure requires massive amount of money. That is why we are very keen in giving you massive support for you to be able to discharge your mandate,” the FCT Minister said
Bello added that funding for the FCTA has shrunk over the years as the territory continues to mature. He said every agency of government is supposed to budget and plan for its requirement, hence the need to go after every kobo that is due to the Administration.