The Federal Capital City has achieved the present level of development because stringent measures were employed by the authority in the art of controlling its development and the mitigation of many eventual challenges as the city grows. Some of these challenges related to physical development and expansion of the city, are incidences of double or multiple land allocations, developments against land use requirements and various forms of falsification of land title documents. A series of procedures were adopted to ensure that all requirements are met before any prospective property developer is given approval to commence the development of his land as allocated.
In order to protect their hard-earned investment, prospective house owners must be guided against mischievous elements, swindlers, fraudsters, land-grabbers and all those afflicted with the syndrome of getting rich quick by all means.
These fraudsters cunningly garb themselves as property developers, and advertise mouth-watering and beautiful architectural design prototypes, to be implemented in choice areas around the city. But, these are only sinister actions aimed at wooing unsuspecting or innocent citizens to subscribe as off-takers and get swindled. The so-called developers would only be posing as the land owners, but actually do not own the land.
The most important requirement for the application for building permission is the title document belonging to the particular land as proof of ownership. Others are the site plans and building designs which must comply with the land use and environmental requirements. Unfortunately, due to the ingenuity in the art of deception, at times even the authority is deceived by the fraudsters to grant building plan approvals to false title owners. This is because the document presented for the application for approval is the true representation of the name in the official record as the lawful owner.
The commotion will not commence until development commences on the land and the genuine owner witnesses and lodges complain to the authority that his land is being developed without his consent. That is when he would be informed that actually approval has been requested and was granted because the title document presented was the true representation of the genuine ownership. Unfortunately, it would then be realised that it was a cloned document.
Meanwhile, many unsuspecting off-takers would have already become victims, because they have already committed their hard-earned money for subscription to own houses in the fraudulent housing estate under development. The next stage is the mischievous game by the fraudulent developer, who would be carrying along the defrauded off-takers as partners in the struggle. Because the innocent off-takers know that their money would be very difficult to be refunded, the victims would blindly join, to assist the fraudster in the unholy agitation to legalise the illegality.
What would not be known by the victims is that, some of them were specially targeted and their subscriptions heavily subsidised, if not freely given for the purpose of benefitting from their support whenever the cat is let out of the bag. This category would include the senior security officers, land officials, to some extent including the anti-graft agencies. All these are the result of greed and the desire for obtaining very expensive commodity knowingly, but at a very cheap rate.
Eventually, all the pretexts by the mischievous elements would collapse upon the presentation and verification of the original title document by the genuine landowner. If the land had already been developed, the next stage would be the demolition of the building to allow the genuine owner the right to his land. One can imagine the agony in the faces of those poor victims with low or medium income who might have secured housing loans, and knew they don’t have any future hope of getting another opportunity of getting money to make new plans for owning houses at their retirement.
It was due to the fraudulent activities of many dubious land developers that the Control Department, despite the title document presented, further verifications were sought from the Lands Department and AGIS before any building plan is finally approved. What we urge is for taking further steps to request for sighting of the original land document, in order to checkmate those that would clone other people’s documents and present them as theirs.
Also in their input to stem the tide of such mischief, the promoters of annual International Housing Show make it mandatory for all the property developers marketing their products at the event to have evidence of building plan approvals.
We would also advise all those subscribing for houses from property developers to do their due diligence and make inquiry both at the Lands Department and the Development Control to ascertain the veracity of the development to guard against falling victim to the fraudsters.