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Mar 24, 2015

Land Scammers Target Absentee Owners

The Lands Department is advising private landowners to be on full alert after the discovery of active attempts to rob them of their properties. The scam was discovered last week when perpetrators attempted to lodge applications for first registrations. For those who don’t know, first registrations are carried out by those landholders who have not brought in their titles from the deed system to be transferred to the new, compulsory registration system. The deed system is considered a very unreliable form of registration, so the Department has moved away from it. Apparently, scammers are identifying privately owned parcels of land which have been neglected, and are using forged documents to register, and then transfer them. Lands Commissioner Wilbert Vallejos explained how it’s done.


Wilbert Vallejos

Wilbert Vallejos, Commissioner of Lands

“During the registration process, like in any amnesty program, there are certain people who are not in to do it. Some people come in at a later date to want to do it. But when people come in at a later date to do it, they do it through a process called first registration. So they have to bring their old title, bring an abstract of title indicating the root of that title, and obviously the signatures and forms of identification for the new title to be prepared. The process requires publication in the gazette, advising the world that registration is about to happen. So that’s the process. But when the documents were lodged, the front line officers were going through the checklist and verifying that everything is in order – recognized that the forms of identification produced did not match in terms of nationality. I think they submitted, if I’m not mistaken, two forms of identification. In one form of identification the nationality was X, and in the other form of identification the nationality was something else. That prompted us to be able to suspect that something was wrong, and when we did further checks we found out that indeed the signatures are not correct and indeed everything was suspicious. So we immediately became concerned and sent out the press release. We have been suspecting of situations like these happening, but this would be one of the few times that we have the document in our hands to actually say that it is happening.”

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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1 Response for “Land Scammers Target Absentee Owners”

  1. Spike says:

    I hope the police also investigate Karim Adle.

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