Protest over $5m fleecing
FIJIAN and Filipino migrants in Western Sydney, who were fleeced for $5 million by a nowbankrupt property development company, will picket Blacktown Council today to call for the resignation of Labor councillor Moninder Singh (pictured), a former director of the defunct New Ridge property group.
Singh, 53, of Quakers Hill, was elected to Blacktown Council in September, eight days after the NSW Supreme Court dismissed his appeal against a judgment ordering him and fellow former directors to pay $358,330.68 to two victims of the failed property scheme Ignacio and Leticia De Castro, plus legal costs.
The couple successfully sued Singh and five other directors of New Ridge in the District Court last year, after losing their life’s savings on a get-rich-quick scheme in which they lent New Ridge $300,000 to develop units in Cairns and were supposed to receive 20 per cent interest.
Fijian Indian couple Kumar and Rosie have not stopped working since they came to Australia 30 years ago.
Kumar, 57, an IT specialist, worked nights at Coles stacking shelves, while Rosie, 55, worked at Coles by day and as an agency nurse by night.
The hard work paid off in 2006 when Kumar hand-built their dream home in Merrylands. A comfortable retirement beckoned. But then they met Blacktown Labor Councillor Moninder Singh and real estate agents Kulwant Singh and Mandhir Singh Sandha, the BMW-driving directors of the now bankrupt New Ridge property group.
They were offered a deal to lend the company $200,000 in return for 20 per cent interest.
The trusting couple and their daughter were flown to Cairns to inspect property, put up at The Lakes resort and spa, and wined and dined with other “investors”.
“They sweet-talked us,” says Kumar. “After they sold my property we became friends with them.”
The couple took out an investment loan of $200,000 and gave it to New Ridge. Before long, the interest payments “stopped suddenly”.
Like Filipino couple Ignacio and Letitia DeCastro, they had lost their life’s savings in the failed scheme.
Kumar and Rosie still work two jobs to pay off the bank loan. They both now take heart medication because of the stress.
But they say a “ray of hope” came last year when the DeCastros successfully sued Moninder and other directors of New Ridge, who were ordered by the District Court to pay them a total of $358,330.68 plus costs.
Judge Robert Montgomery said he was “concerned as to truthfulness and reliability of the evidence given by … Moninder”.
The judge said that, between 2004 and 2006, Moninder also was director of another company, Shah MS Property Group, which owed 31 private loans totalling $4,695,734.00.
Shah thereafter became Australian Academy of Management and Science Pty Limited (AAMS), operating at Quakers Hill.
“Its controlling director at all relevant times and to the present was and is Moninder.”
Moninder lists his profession on LinkedIn as CEO of AAMS.
Taxi driver Baljinder Singh, who is organising a protest for New Ridge victims today outside Blacktown Council, says it breaks his heart to see Moninder in ceremonial red turban, presenting citizenship certificates.
A proud Sikh, Baljinder says he wishes the Labor Party would help those who have lost money from Moninder’s failed schemes.