Workers May Lose About N400m In NLC Mortgage Scam

Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), yesterday confirmed that workers might have been defrauded by one of its business partners, even as it assured workers who deposited money into the NLC-Kriston-Lally account, to which NLC is a signatory that “their funds are safe”.

Vanguard exclusively reported yesterday that workers who deposited money for a housing scheme, in which NLC is a major partner might have lost about N400 million, in a scam involving some officials of NLC and a private developer.

NLC, in a statement by its president, Mr. Abulwaheed Omar said it was working with relevant agencies to ensure that subscribers, who might have been manipulated into paying money into wrong accounts in the NLC—Kriston-Lally Housing Project, were protected.

It however did not state how much had been paid into “the wrong account” by workers.

The statement was also silent on the roles allegedly played by NLC officials in the scam.

NLC, in a statement by its President, Mr. Abdulwaheed Omar, advised workers who subscribed to the project “that we are doing everything possible to secure their interests”, declaring that “all funds deposited in the advertised NLC-Kriston-Lally account” were safe and secure.

Part of the statement reads:

“In its bid to promote workers’ welfare, the Congress went into understanding with a number of developers to provide affordable housing for workers. One such understanding was with Kriston-Lally, with whom Congress signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

”Based on this, and subsequent advertisement, a large number of workers subscribed to the project. Under the MOU, Kriston-Lally was to build specified housing types at agreed prices. The funding of the project was to be provided by financiers from abroad whom Kriston-Lally had identified.

The NLC was, on its part to ensure that there were off-takers of the housing units by mobilising workers to subscribe by paying ten per cent of the price of desired house type.

“The response of Nigerian workers to the advertisement of the project was overwhelming. Congress was excited by this.

“However, on the 4th of October, 2013, Congress decided that further subscription and collection of money be stopped to enable the project consolidate and deliver the first phase of houses to those who had subscribed within the promised time frame of December, 2014. This decision was served on and acknowledged by Kriston-Lally on 4th of October, 2013.

“Congress became worried, however, as the take-off of the project kept on being delayed. Due to the delay, a number of subscribers applied for a refund of their deposits. In the process of processing the application for refunds, we encountered a bank teller which showed that a subscriber had paid the initial deposit into an account, other than the advertised NLC-KRISTON – LALLY EPC.”

According to Omar, “ We found this disturbing because Congress, in order to guarantee the safety of workers’ deposits, had insisted on being joint signatory with the MD of Kriston-Lally. The discovery that some workers may have made payments into accounts unknown to us led us to undertake further enquiries. We have enlisted official assistance in further investigation.

“We therefore wish to assure all workers who subscribed to this project that we are doing everything possible to secure their interests. All funds deposited in the advertised NLC-Kriston-Lally account mentioned above are safe and secure. All depositors into that account can rest assured that their funds are safe.” [Vanguard]

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