GIABA to Sensitize Real Estate Agents on Anti-Money Laundering

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The Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) is conducting a three-day awareness workshop on enhancing Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) compliance among real estate dealers in Nigeria.

According to the regional organisation charged with the mandate to protect the economies of West Africa from financial crimes and terrorist financing, the programme will hold at the Reiz Continental Hotel Abuja from Monday 25th to Wednesday 27th April 2022.

GIABA noted that the National Risk Assessment (NRA) of Nigeria ranks the real estate as the 2nd most vulnerable to money laundering risk (medium-high) while the Mutual Evaluation Report of Nigeria further notes that Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Persons (DNFBPs), which include real estate businesses, generally have a low-level understanding of their ML/TF risks and AML/CFT obligations. Moreso, many operators are unaware of the NRA and its findings. Also, while large and more sophisticated entities conduct enterprise risk assessments, not all DNFBPs have registered with self-regulatory bodies (SRBs). Thus, such significant deficiencies concerning the real estate sector and the low level of effectiveness with respect to Immediate Outcomes 1, 3, and 8, have made organising an awareness raising between real estate sector professionals and designated supervising authority a priority action.

The workshop therefore aims to provide a platform for participants to share perspectives, build consensus and foster cooperation and collaboration toward the protection and prevention of Nigeria’s real estate sector from money laundering. Specifically, the workshop will raise awareness and develop a common understanding among stakeholders concerning effective and proportional responses to the risk of money laundering through the real estate sector; discuss relevant standards and share related good practices for reaching out to the real estate sector; identify gaps in national legal and regulatory frameworks across the region; as well as enhance domestic cooperation, coordination and engagement between government, SRBs and the real estate sector.

Participants at the workshop will be drawn from the Special Control Unit on Money Laundering (SCUML), Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN), professionals in the real estate business value chain and officials of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).
The workshop will be delivered by regional and international experts through presentations, work groups, experience sharing and case studies.

At the end of the workshop, it is expected that there would be enhanced awareness on the money laundering vulnerabilities of the real estate sector; improved coordination and engagement between sector regulators and other competent authorities and real estate agents, as well as improved compliance of Nigeria with the FATF RBA requirements.