– High Court manipulated to commit fraud – AG Nandlal
The prime double lot property on the Eccles, East Bank Demerara Public Road that was illegally transferred to a so far unknown man has been sold to a company on the East Bank for some $35 million but that transaction was not fully processed.
The Lot B and C Eccles property is owned by Rohit Lall. However, when he went to the Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) to pay rates and taxes in March 2020, he was informed that the property was transferred to one Mohamed Wazir of Fourth Street Herstelling, EBD. Checks made for Wazir were futile.
The matter has since been reported to the Police and legal actions have been filed by Lall to recover his property and have it transferred back into his name. However, as the probe widens, it was recently unearthed that the property was in fact sold to a company which manufactures toilet tissue and is located at Garden of Eden, EBD.
INews understands that Wazir had reportedly appointed a Guyanese woman of Chinese descent as the Power of Attorney for the property and had her sell the land to the manufacturing company for $35 million.
A Police source close to the investigation told this publication that the woman was hauled in for preliminary questioning and she is expected to be further questioned this week when the Police obtain all the necessary documents relating to the sale of the property.
In fact, Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister, Anil Nandlall told INews on Saturday that he has since requested all the conveyancing documents from the Deeds Registry by Monday to hand over to the Police to aid in their investigation.
When INews visited the property in question on Saturday, it appeared as though works have been undertaken recently and the land is being sand-filled. But while the land was sold and all the conveyancing documents filed at the Deeds Registry, the sale process was not fully completed.
“The next step was for the property to be advertised in the Gazette for passing to the company. But the transaction wasn’t completed. The owner [Lall] got wind of the matter barely in time… It was sold but not passed to the buyer – the company,” this publication was told.
Meanwhile, the Notary Public, who is a former Magistrate and who executed the Power of Attorney of the property to the Chinese woman, was also called in to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Headquarters for questioning.
“He was the Notary Public who executed the Power of Attorney for Wazir appointing the Chinese person and the Chinese person is the one who sold the property to the company. He was the lawyer who did the transaction – the sale and the conveyance – from Wazir to the company.”
As the Police continue to investigate the issue which initially started off as a transport fraud, all angles are being looked at including whether the Chinese woman is the actual architect behind the crime or is in fact a victim as well. The Police source indicated that the latter might be the case since some money was paid by the woman to Wazir, who is yet to be found.
Initial enquiries made had revealed that the transport for the Eccles Public Road double lot was passed from Lall’s name to Wazir via a court order granted by former High Court Judge, Justice Jainarayan Singh, in September 2008 following an application filed by the still unknown man.
Investigators have since discovered that Wazir’s identification card that was used to transact the property transfer is fake.
Further, the probe had led Police to arrest the 37-year-old former staff of the High Court who is attached to a realty firm. He is the person who took the transport in Wazir’s name to the Eccles NDC along with photocopies of the Wazir’s ID to effect the name change in the records there.
He told the Police that the transport and photocopied ID were given to him by someone called “Max” – whom he knows since 2009 but could not give his full name nor contact information – to take to the NDC. He claimed that he went to the Deeds Registry and verified the transport was genuine before taking it to the NDC.
The man further told investigators that he never saw Wazir and doesn’t know anything about him. He was released from custody on Saturday morning on $200,000 bail after the statutory 72 hours detention period expired.
Meanwhile, INews was informed that all the records pertaining to the court order transferring the land from Lall to Wazir have disappeared.
“All checks at the court revealed that the case file in which that order was made, all the documents have gone missing. The Police have interviewed the Registrar of Supreme Court who has promised to check in the Judges’ Cost Book to see whether that order was actually written down by the Judge… They will verify that book this week,” this publication was told.
When a Judge makes an order in court, that order is then documented as an order of the court in the Judge’s handwriting in the Cost Book.
Contacted on Saturday, Nandlall told this publication that this is in fact not the first time that a court order is being used in fraudulent transactions of this type, causing people to lose their property.
“As is the position in this case, in those other cases the court file in which the order is made cannot be found as well. This is a most tragic situation where the fraudsters seemed to have been able to misuse and manipulate the legal process of the High Court and use it as the instrument to commit the fraud,” Nandlall posited.