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 Abuja.

The workshop is scheduled from Monday 25 – 27 April 2022, GIABA said in a statement released on Wednesday.

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 National Risk Assessment (NRA) of Nigeria has ranked real estate as the second most vulnerable to money laundering risk (medium-high).

The Mutual Evaluation Report of Nigeria further states 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.

The statement said, “More so, 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).

“In view of the significant deficiencies concerning the real estate sector and the low level of effectiveness with respect to Immediate Outcomes 1, 3, and 8, it was recommended that organising an awareness-raising between real estate sector professionals and designated supervising authority be a priority action.”

The workshop 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.

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“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,” the statement said.

The workshop will be delivered by regional and international experts through presentations, workgroups, 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.

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