|Cut and paste deeds |
AZARD ALI Wednesday, March 15 2017
THE issue of fraudulent land Deeds, created via the use of cutand- paste stamps, surfaced in a multi-million dollar Gulf View land property dispute, prompting a High Court judge to order the Land Registry Department to cancel a number of deeds to property, purporting to represent plots of land in the upscale residential community.
Justice Ricky Rahim ordered a Fyzabad man to return a lot of land in Gulf View, La Romaine valued approximately $5 million in, to the rightful owner, saying an attempt to take it away by a false Deed, smacked of fraud. Justice Rahim ordered the Registrar General to cancel and expunge from the records, the Deed in question.
The judge said that based on his discovery during the trial, fraud has reached deep into the public records of the Land Registry, affecting people’s right to their land. The case was that of two families engaged in a land battle, both sides walking with their own Deeds and claiming ownership of the land situated at Parson Avenue in Gulf View.
In a judgement in the San Fernando High Court, after a trial in which personnel from the Ministry of Legal Affairs were called to produce and testify on which of the two Deeds were real, Justice Rahim found that a set of Deeds were doctored in order to claim ownership of the land in Gulf View. He launched a stinging attack on what he discovered as an interference with the, “physical manipulation of original Deeds in the custody of the Registrar General’s Department by persons unknown, in order to create a chain of title.” Rickey Deyal of Delhi Road, Fyzabad claimed he was the beneficial owner of a lot of land at No. 446 Parson Avenue, Gulf View, via the estate of his deceased mother Admarine Rampersad and firstly, a woman named Lenora Iris Joseph. Deyal was appointed executor of his mother’s estate by a Will in 2012. As such, he claimed ownership of the land.
In 2013, Chaitram Ramrattan, wife Omelia and son Amrit, bought the land from Gulf View Limited and in May 2013, began construction and excavation work, for their new house. In August 2013, Deyal obtained an injunction forcing the Ramrattans to cease construction. Former House Speaker and attorney Nizam Mohammed defended the Ramrattans in the injunction.
Justice Rahim conducted a trial, in which he had to decide whether Deyal or the Ramrattans, hold title to the land.
The judge referred to the evidence of Deyal who claimed he derived title to the land via Deed No. 1164 of 1927, Deed No. DE 2011019959553D001, conveyed to Iris Joseph by Deed DE 201301543211D001, in which Joseph agreed to transfer various parcels of lands, including the disputed lot to Admarine Rampersad.
The judge stated that in Deyal’s evidence, he denied the lot in question was ever bought by Gulf View Ltd but that the parcel of land existed since 1922 and was known as Parson Avenue.
Justice Rahim, however stated that Licensed surveyor and photogrammetric engineer Paul Anthony Williams, submitted a report to the court in which he found that Parson Avenue did not exist even in 1969, but the lands were coconut estate and in 1978, was a road reserve. The judge then referred to the evidence of Sharlene Karim, a title examiner with the Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs, who produced a true copy of Deyal’s Deed No 1164 of 1927, but it was pointed out by the judge that no certification of registration was attached to that Deed.
Its absence, the judge stated, means Deyal’s Deed No 1164 of 1927 was not part of the official records of the Registrar General’s Department.
Calling into question the authenticity of that Deed, Justice Rahim stated that the stamps on that Deed appeared to have been stuck onto the Deed, having been cut from elsewhere.
The judge stated that it was noticed that staple marks and holes appear on the pages of the Deed and some of the wording of the said Deed appears to be of lighter ink. But even more telling, Justice Rahim stated, was the court’s view that the parcel of land in the said Deed produced by Karim to the court, refers to land sold in 1957 and located in San Juan.
He said that a reasonable conclusion, was that several pages were removed from a valid form of Deed 1164 of 1927, and ten pages of false information inserted to produce Deed 1164 of 1927. The judge stated, “This demonstrates quite adequately to this court that all pages of the Deed save and except the last, were in fact fraudulently inserted into the volume long after the Deed purports to have been registered.
“It is the evidence that the Registrar General’s Department has serious concerns about the authenticity of this Deed.” Justice Rahim added, “The documents tells a tale of wanton interference with and physical manipulation of the original Deed in the custody of the Registrar General’s department, by persons unknown in order to create a chain of title which is clearly false.” Justice Rahim dismissed Deyal’s claim to the land and declared that the Ramrattans are the lawful owners of the Parson Avenue lot in Gulf View.
He ordered that ‘Deed 1164 of 1927’ and Deeds E201101959553D001, DE201102051860, DE201501574348D001 ,DE201501574469D001 be expunged from the registry.
He ordered Deyal to pay Ramrattan $10,000 in damages for trespass to the land and invited attorney Mohammed and Deyal’s attorney, to make oral submissions on legal cost.