News that the Government is planning to set up a register of property owned by foreign nationals in a bid to clamp down on tax evasion and money laundering has apparently led to a number of Nigerian property owners trying to sell.
An African source claims that many of Nigeria’s politically exposed elite, including former civil servants and serving (or former) elected office holders are either trying to sell property they own in the UK outright, or are transferring their ownership to others.
Negotiations are currently being held between Nigeria and the UK to unmask individuals who “impoverish their people by corruption” and a list of all the houses bought by public officials will help in this.
One unnamed Nigerian former civil servant who owns a property in the UK said that he was already making plans to sell it but, following the announcement about the register earlier this month, will now “fast track and complete the process” before the proposal becomes law.
He said he did not wish to be called upon to explain how he acquired the property, so would prefer to sell it before “they say it was acquired with stolen funds”. However he declined to say if the property was bought while he was in service.
According to the source, many other politicians are also making frantic attempts to sell their estates in the UK and have been in touch with estate agents in a bid to make quick sales.
Baroness Trafford, minister of state at the Home Office, has confirmed that the register, which was first proposed at last year’s anti-corruption summit, will go ahead. She said that the since the summit, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has been bringing together complex legal areas of international land law in a bid to set out the policy proposals as soon as possible.