A former employee of the High Court Registry is now in Police custody assisting with an investigation into the fraudulent transfer of a prime property situated by the public road at Eccles, East Bank Demerara (EBD) into the name of a so-far-unknown person.
The property, a double-lot – Lots B and C, Eccles – is owned by Rohit Lall, but when he went to the Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) to pay rates and taxes, he was informed that the property had been transferred to one Mohamed Wazir of Fourth Street Herstelling, EBD.
Upon further enquiry, Lall found out that the transport had been passed via Court Order granted by former High Court Justice Jainarayan Singh in September 2008 following an application filed by Mohamed Wazir.
The matter has since been reported to the Police, and legal actions have been initiated by Lall to recover his property and have it transferred back in his name.
The probe has led Police to arrest the 37-year-old former staffer of the High Court Registry who is attached to a realty firm. He is the person who took the transport in Mohamed Wazir’s name to the Eccles NDC along with photocopies of Wazir’s Identification Card to effect the name change in the records there.
He told Police at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Headquarters that the transport and photocopied ID were given to him by someone called “Max” to take to the NDC. He claimed that he has known Max since 2009, but he could not give Max’s full name nor contact information.
He claimed that he had gone to the Deeds Registry and verified the transport was genuine before taking it to the NDC.
Further, the man told investigators that he had never seen Wazir, or known anything about him.
The 37-year-old man was arrested on Wednesday morning, and remains in custody as investigations continue.
INews understands that investigators had checked for Wazir at the address given, but had been informed that no one by that name is living there.
A source close to the investigation told this publication that the ID card that was used to conduct the transaction is fake.
“It’s a bogus ID Card so we don’t know who’s the person really, other than the photograph on the ID (which the Police believe could be the individual in question),” the source indicated.
Further, he related that the Police had applied for all the court documents and the court order in relation to this transaction, but all those records have reportedly disappeared from the system.
“Some skullduggery happened at the court and that order was granted, and so the property was transferred in this Wazir person’s name… But we are looking at all angles, meaning every single step that was taken to get this court order and to get this transport [in the name of Wazir]. Everybody who is part of it we are going to investigate,” this publication was told.
This case involving the Eccles property was brought to light by Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall, SC, during a recent appearance on the ‘Government in Action’ programme, when he addressed the issue and spoke of some of the measures that are being contemplated to protect property owners from fraud.
The Legal Affairs Minister has said he believes there is an integrated conspiracy at work in committing these frauds. He noted that no one person could pull this off.
Though property fraud has been happening for some time now, the issue rose to the fore following a recent Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) ruling in another property fraud case. The CCJ has recommended that Guyana’s legal framework be strengthened.