Amendments to guard against growing property theft complete

--will be tabled in Parliament soon

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Months after Attorney General Anil Nandlall, SC promised to strengthen legislation to protect property owners from fraud, the amendments to existing laws are complete and have been published in the Official Gazette.

It is expected to be tabled in Parliament during a sitting in December 2021 and subsequently debated.

The amendments propose changes to the Deeds Registry Act and the Powers of Attorney Act.

“These two pieces will go to Parliament shortly and it will address the issue [of property fraud],” Nandlall said during his Tuesday night ‘Issues in the News’ commentary aired on his Facebook page.

The amendments make the process at the Deeds Registry and the authority to act for another person in specified or all legal or financial matters more transparent.

Nandlall said that the government has recognised, based on evidence that Powers of Attorney, is one of the instruments used to perpetrate these frauds.

In the amendment to the Power of Attorney Act, it imposes additional requirements for completing the process such as being present in person for the signing of documents and mandates copies of identification.

A more stringent process altogether to guard against the theft of immovable property, he assured. Fraudsters in recent years have been forging documents and selling people’s properties unknown to them.

Many have been found and taken to court although this type of fraudulent conduct has repeatedly occurred.

The police were also asked to launch a full investigation into the matter with allegations that a Notary Public was involved and possible collusion at the Deeds Registry.

These transactions are usually required to be posted in the Official Gazette before approval.

It is against this backdrop that the government plans to examine both the administrative apparatus and the statutory framework to improve the system, both in terms of the law and the administrative process.  This was buttressed by a call from the Caribbean Court of Justice to examine the legal framework.

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