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Mar 19, 2015

Land Fraud Unearthed at Ministry of Natural Resources

In October 2013, the Prime Minister told the Belizean Diaspora in Los Angeles in U.S.A. that the Ministry of Natural Resources was a hotbed of corruption because of the countless instances where fraudulent transactions had been discovered. Today, the Ministry confirmed that it is investigating fraudulent land transactions involving land titles. A preliminary investigation, says the Ministry, suggests that there is a systematic effort being orchestrated by Belizeans, as well as persons with foreign nationalities. The scheme involves “fraudulent international passports and other forms of identification to usurp the identity of real land owners to obtain property and subsequently proceed to illegally transfer land titles to prospective buyers by forging signatures of Ministry officials to make the documents appear as though they were issued from the Lands and Surveys Department.” Perpetrators of the scam are reportedly targeting properties owned by absentee landowners who reside abroad. The Ministry further says the scheme was detected through the new land management system which has uncovered several documents that show competing interest for the same parcel of land and in some instances, the documents refer to land that does not exist.  The Ministry is urging the public to ensure the legitimacy of land transactions or land by validating its authenticity via the Lands Department. Also persons are urged to purchase a certified copy of a register to confirm ownership of parcel and third to request an abstract of land title from seller and cross reference it at the Ministry. The Ministry is also working with the Police Department to conduct a thorough investigation to find and prosecute the perpetrators of these fraudulent land transactions. And lastly the lands and service department is warning the public to be aware of internet websites that purport to sell land in Belize.

 


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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